Photos of Water Worker’s Backside Ignites Controversy

A town manager's antics result in harassment claims by two public works employees who recently were fired

Former public works employee Johnny King is fighting for unemployment benefits from the Town of Chadbourn, North Carolina, after he says he was belittled and then wrongfully terminated.

While King repaired a water leak, acting Town Manager Patricia Garrell snapped a “humiliating” photograph of King’s exposed backside, and proceeded to share it with co-workers in the public works office the following morning, announcing she had a picture of his “butt crack.”

“She … knew better than to do something like that,” King told WECT News. “In her position of all things, you don’t try to belittle somebody in front of everybody.”

During sick leave related to the stress of the photograph, King filed a formal complaint of a hostile work environment and harassment against the Town of Chadbourn with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Raleigh. One month later, King was fired for being in Raleigh filing EEOC paperwork while on sick leave — a violation of the town’s sick leave policy.

Mike Foss, town director of public works at the time who witnessed the photograph being shared at the office, agreed King was being harassed and filed an EEOC complaint of his own.

Foss was also fired with his termination letter also referencing the complaints filed at the EEOC. Both Foss and King plan to sue the Town of Chadbourn for wrongful termination.

Source: WECT News


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