KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A lawsuit accusing Gov. Jay Nixon of age and gender discrimination has been delayed as more cases surface.
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Friday in the lawsuit of fired Missouri Department of Labor employee Gracia Backer, The Kansas City Star reported. Backer alleges she was terminated because she complained to Nixon’s office that her boss, former Department of Labor Director Larry Rebman, was creating a hostile work environment and discriminating against older female employees.
But a judge this week decided to postpone the trial until late February, after Nixon leaves office. Nixon, a Democrat, can’t run for re-election this year because of term limits.
The labor department and a Nixon spokesman declined comment Wednesday.
The newspaper said an open records request also turned up two additional discrimination lawsuits against executive branch agencies, including one naming Nixon as a defendant.
The first case was filed last year by a former officer with the Missouri Capitol Police Department and investigator with the Department of Social Services. She claims she was fired in retaliation for a gender discrimination lawsuit she filed and accuses Nixon of condoning “retaliation and discrimination throughout the executive branch.”
The second lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in November against Rebman and the Department of Labor. It involves a female employee who says she was retaliated against after complaining about being repeatedly passed over for promotions by younger and less experienced workers.
Meanwhile, another discrimination case from 2015 could impact the governor’s decision on who should fill an open judicial seat in St. Louis.
Brian May, a longtime Nixon aide currently serving as the director of the governor’s eastern Missouri office, is among three finalists for a seat on the 21st Circuit Court in St. Louis. Nixon will decide which of the three finalists gets the job. But last year, a jury ordered May to pay $500,000 in damages to a former employee who sued, alleging disability discrimination. The state has appealed that decision.
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