2 Lawrence County agencies, superintendent named in lawsuit

Published 12:39 pm Monday, August 21, 2017

A former employee of the Lawrence County Board of Development Disabilities and the Appalachian Family and Children First Council is suing the two agencies and the LCBDD superintendent for being denied health insurance and for a sexually hostile workplace.

Stephen Jones, now of Huntersville, North Carolina, was employed by the LCBDD, and the Appalachian Family and Children First Council (AFCFC) “for the purpose of providing coordination services for AFCFC.” He was employed from Sept. 15, 2012 to June 30, 2016.

In a suit filed in the Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, Jones alleges that LCBDD Superintendent Paul Mollett emailed “sexually explicit pictures of male genitalia” to him from his official work email address on Sept. 21, 2012, creating what “Jones reasonably believed to be a sexually hostile work place at the outset of the employment relationship.” The lawsuit says that Jones made a complaint to the agencies about Mollett.

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While employed, Jones was diagnosed with cancer, which is considered a disability under Ohio law. The suit says that Jones informed his employers of his diagnosis and medical condition and despite his disability, was able to safely and substantially perform his job.

Jones sought to obtain health insurance that had been made available to other of the agencies’ employees, but according to the lawsuit, was denied in part because of his disability and “in retaliation for his complaint against defendant Paul Mollett.”

In the claims for release section of the lawsuit, Jones says the actions of Mollett created a sexually hostile work environment and a result of that and the denial of health benefits, Jones sustained damages in an amount to be determined at trial. Jones is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and the cost of bringing the lawsuit.

Jones is asking for a trial by jury.