Dispatcher seeks age discrimination damages

A part-time police dispatcher is suing the city of Oberlin for age discrimination after officials passed her up for a promotion.

Carolyn Brown, 51, has been a dispatcher for 30 years, 21 of them with the city. Her suit takes aim at the October 2014 hire of a 25-year-old with only two-and-half years of experience.

The suit also claims Brown’s hours were cut from 30 to 16 per week after she expressed disagreement with a decision to fire a co-worker.

A counter-claim filed by the city June 24 denies Brown’s assertion that the termination played into the cut in hours.

Brown was one of three finalists for the full-time position.

The suit says police chief Thomas Miller, who has since retired, told Brown that Chelsea Metera was chosen “based upon the interview results” and that the city was :looking for someone who will stay for five, 10, 20 to 25 years… someone long-term.”

Oberlin’s counter-claim also denies that point, but doesn’t explain why Metera was hired over Brown.

Brown is asking judge Mark Betleski of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas to declare that the city’s acts violated her rights and issue a permanent injunction against what she calls “unlawful employment practices.”

She also wants to receive back pay and benefits lost as well as cash for injuries caused by the city in an amount decided by the judge.

Brown’s suit also asks Betleski to award her the full-time dispatcher position, interest on the money she lost, and attorney fees.

A pre-trial is set for 10 a.m. on Sept. 16.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.