According to WDSU in New Orleans, a former employee of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court has filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination. The plaintiff, Tammy Griffith, named her former boss Chief Judge David Bell, six sitting judges, the court’s judicial administrator and institutions including the state of Louisiana and city of New Orleans. Griffith also filed claims of sexual harassment by Bell.
Griffith alleges repeated misconduct by Bell and accuses other defendants at the court of ignoring the situation, and firing her because of her complaints.
Griffith claims she repeatedly turned down Bell’s sexual advances over a period of more than three years. The Louisiana Supreme Court barred Bell from stepping on courthouse property in 2010 due to other employee complaints alleging harassment by Bell, with three of the six alleged complaints having sexual tones. Bell has not returned to the bench and is living outside of Louisiana.
Bell made repeated sexual remarks and approached the plaintiff, after her refusal, Bell placed unsigned divorce papers on her desk, plaintiff claims. Griffith approached her boss about an overdue raise and Bell made a sexual remark in how she could earn money a faster way, she further claims.
Griffith discussed her concerns with others at the court, including Chief Judge Ernestine Gray, who was Bell’s replacement after is dismissal. Griffith claims she was terminated and her firing was retaliatory and not due to incompetence, as her termination letter cited. The plaintiff seeks compensation in excess of $75,000 from the defendants.