Lawsuit filed against county by former deputy sheriff Cites sexual discrimination, wrongful termination
WILLIAMSPORT - A former female deputy sheriff has filed a lawsuit against Northumberland County on claims of sexual discrimination and wrongful termination.
Nicole Baker, of Kulpmont, filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Baker was employed as a deputy sheriff for Northumberland County from March 2010 to April 30, 2012.
Baker was terminated from the department because, she was told, county commissioners cut a deputy sheriff position. She said she was not informed why three male deputies with less seniority retained their positions.
In the six-page complaint, Baker alleges discrimination because she was told she could not call off work during her probationary period even though other deputy sheriffs were allowed to do so. She said she was written up several times for punching in a few minutes late, but those same rules did not apply to her male counterparts, according to the complaint.
She also alleges she was told she was performing some of her duties incorrectly, such as taking paperwork to the prison while transporting the last inmate of the day, even though she did the work the same way as male officers.
Baker also claimed she wasn't taken seriously when reporting misdoings by other deputies and that male co-workers did not speak to her for two consecutive weeks in February 2012.
Through her attorney Michael Zicolello, of Williamsport, Baker said she filed a complaint in October 2012 with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, which was served to the county in January 2013.
According to the suit, a deputy resigned Feb. 15, 2013, and four days later, another male was hired for the job. Baker claims the county made "no effort to recall her from her lay off status to fill the open position," and "failed to reply to her request for an explanation as to why she was not called back."
Baker claims she was passed over for the vacancy because she filed the complaint.
She is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and attorney fees.