(Havre Herald) A year and a half later, Hill County has responded to a former county employee’s lawsuit in which she claims she was wrongfully fired. The county says the employee’s firing was her own fault.
Carol Schubert, who was paid nearly $20 an hour, is suing the county for four years of lost wages and benefits from her date of termination, on June 14, 2017.
In her complaint, Schubert said she was fired for making “minor, petty mistakes which are made by others in the treasurer’s office with no repercussions.” She says her termination was “pretextual, arbitrary, contrary to accepted and sound practices and prior policy of the Hill County Treasurer’s Office and Hill County.” She also claimed she performed her job satisfactorily.
Hill County disagrees with all three points.
In its response, county representative Mitchell Young of Montana Association of Counties Defense Services, said Schubert was fired because of her actions and non-actions: He wrote,“The injuries and damages complained of were caused in whole or in part by the acts and omissions of Plaintiff.”
A Hill County deputy treasurer and county employee for 16 years, Schubert was paid $19.80 an hour and received paid sick leave, paid holidays, retirement and health insurance. She was fired on June 14, 2017, during a phone call with then-county attorney Jessica Cole-Hodgkinson.
In its response, Hill County clarified that the former county attorney was not Schubert’s supervisor and that it was not Cole-Hodgkinson’s decision to fire her.
The county also disputed Schubert’s version about a meeting that was held without her.
Hill County held a meeting about Schubert’s employment the same day she was fired. In her complaint, Schubert said she was not present because the meeting notice she received posted the wrong date and had been “untimely mailed to her.”
The county, however, said the meeting was held without her because Schubert said she wouldn’t attend without an attorney, adding she was indeed notified about the meeting, but had “specifically declined to attend.”
Another point of disagreement was Schubert’s claim that she had exhausted her grievance and appeal rights. The county disagreed, without further elaboration.
Both parties agreed, however, that Schubert demanded a settlement five months after being fired and that the county rejected it.
Both parties now request a jury trial.