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Judge overturns decision on former fire chief's harassment claim

When Iowa employees are confronted with problems at work ranging from harassment, discrimination and allegations of wrongdoing, they have the right to protest. If these allegations end with the person losing his or her job, it is even more important to remember that there are laws to protect workers from ill treatment. Many cases are complex and issues arise where the complainant must deal with setbacks and adversity. Remembering the importance of legal help when seeking justice for mistreatment at work is critical.

A former fire chief who asserted that she was fired because of her complaints about harassment was dealt a blow when a judge found in favor of the city. The woman ran the fire department for around five years before the city administrator dismissed her. She protested and the case went before the city's civil service commission. Its mandate is to review complaints from public employees. The commission stated that the city was in the wrong for its decision. The county court heard the city's appeal and found in its favor. According to the judge, the commission did not have the proper jurisdiction nor the authority to overrule the city. Current law was cited as the justification for the decision.

The former fire chief says that she had prior experience in Illinois and that it should have affected her status as a civil servant in Iowa. The city disagreed and the judge concurred. There are dueling explanations as to why she was dismissed. The city says that her judgment was poor and she had made bad decisions including out-of-town trips and missed time on the job. She says that her complaining about harassment was the catalyst for the firing.

Although this case has gone back and forth in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant, it can provide an important lesson for people who are dealing with violations of employee rights, have lost their employment because of back-and-forth contretemps and are seeking compensation in a legal filing. Having legal assistance from the start can be one of the key factors to a successful case. This is especially true when the case could be appealed and it will take time to sort through. A law firm experienced in workplace discrimination can be of assistance with a case, its presentation and an appeal if necessary.

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