Jailer sued by employee

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By Bryan Marshall

A Grant County Detention Center employee has sued Jailer Terry Peeples after she was demoted in January.

Tracy McIntosh of Williamstown filed the lawsuit, which also lists Grant Fiscal Court and Judge-Executive Darrell Link as defendants, in Grant Circuit Court on April 11.

McIntosh was hired as a deputy jailer in August 2006 and since was promoted to corporal and eventually to payroll and accounts clerk in the administrative section of the jail.

She was demoted Jan. 14 — two weeks after Peeples took office — after refusing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.

McIntosh said she believed the document violated her rights and duty to report any unlawful conduct, according to the suit.

In part, the agreement stated, “I understand that I am an at-will employee, and I can be discharged at any time for no reason whatsoever at the discretion of the jailer.”

The day before Peeples notified her of her demotion to an operations job supervising inmates, the lawsuit states that McIntosh delivered a letter to Peeples and Link indicating her objections to the agreement.

McIntosh’s doctor determined that she had a medical condition sufficient for her to qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because of the hostility and stress of the situation.

While on FMLA leave, the lawsuit alleges that Peeples “engaged in a regular course of making harassing, hostile and tortuous statements about (McIntosh)” and stated his desire to “run out” McIntosh.

The lawsuit also points out political differences between Peeples and McIntosh, who was an active supporter of former jailer Steve Kellam in his reelection campaign against Peeples.

Although the two made efforts to reconcile the differences and McIntosh believed they could have a working relationship, the lawsuit alleges that was not the case.

“After taking office, it became clear that (Peeples) harbored considerable ill will against (McIntosh) and that attempts to resolve their political disagreements were not successful,” according to the document.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violation of the Kentucky Whistleblower statute, outrage/intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.

McIntosh is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Peeples said he could not comment on the allegations at this time.

Link also did not comment on the lawsuit.