As I mentioned in a recent post, former Jefferson County (23rd) Circuit Court employee Jamie Mahn has filed a second lawsuit against former circuit clerk Howard Wagner and the circuit itself. The suit, filed in early April, claims employment discrimination based on disability, alleging that the stated reason for Mahn’s firing from the clerk’s office in September was “abuse of sick leave” (apparently a quote from her dismissal letter) after Mahn took a total of about two months of leave for two separate specified medical issues in 2014.
This suit was filed in the 23rd circuit (a state court), but a motion has been filed to transfer it to the Missouri Supreme Court for reassignment, given the obvious potential conflicts of interest.
This “abuse of sick leave” quote gives us the first clue about Wagner’s official reason for firing Mahn. In a Leader article from November, Wagner said “I can’t really comment on work performance and that sort of thing.” This seems like a backhanded insinuation that Mahn was fired for poor performance, clearly violating the spirit of his “can’t comment on personnel issues” stance.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Mahn filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) on November 6. MCHR invites parties in a complaint to mediate or settle the complaint. According to their website, a complainant can let the investigation proceed or request a Right to Sue letter, which terminates the MCHR proceedings and allows the complainant to file a lawsuit. Mahn chose this route, receiving the Right to Sue letter on January 7.
Mahn filed a federal lawsuit against Wagner, the county, the circuit, county clerk Wes Wagner, and circuit chief deputy Jeanette McKee (who was defeated by current clerk Mike Reuter in the November election) in October, alleging that the real reason she was fired was because she voted in the GOP primary in August rather than voting Democrat (McKee and both Wagners are Democrats). I discussed that suit here.
Mahn is seeking upwards of $500,000 in the federal suit and $100,000 in the state suit.