The jury’s decision in the civil lawsuit tried in U.S. District Court delivered a political blow to District Attorney Larry Chisolm less than two months before voters will decide whether to re-elect him.
Gwendolyn Roberts, a former office administrator for the prosecutor, was terminated in February 2009. After her job was eliminated, she filed a complaint saying she had been discriminated against because of her age and gender. In her lawsuit, Roberts argued Chisolm refused to consider her for a new job because of her discrimination complaint.
Chisolm denied the allegations on the witness stand. He told the jury of six men and six women that he did away with Roberts’ job as part of an effort to streamline his office and save money. Chisolm testified the man he hired to fill the new position was better qualified.
U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. threw out age and gender discrimination claims in Roberts’ lawsuit, leaving jurors to consider only the retaliation complaint.
Jurors decided Roberts was entitled to recoup lost wages and benefits from the date of her termination 19 months ago.
Chisolm, a Democrat, is seeking a second term in the November election. His Republican opponent is one of his former assistant prosecutors, Meg Heap.