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Supreme Court of Alabama
April 23, 2004, Released
[*348] SEE, Justice.
Sherry Harper, the plaintiff in the underlying action, appeals from a summary judgment in favor of Winston County and Sandra Wright, the defendants below. We affirm the trial court's judgment as to Winston County and we reverse the judgment as to Wright.
Facts and Procedural History
Harper was employed by the Winston County Department of Revenue. Sandra Wright, the revenue commissioner of Winston County, was her supervisor. According to Harper, on March 16, 2000, Wright threatened Harper with termination of her employment because Harper was supporting Roger Hayes, the incumbent chairman of the Winston County Commission, for reelection to that position. Harper states that Wright told her that Wright, "and not Commission Chairman Hayes, was the only person who could fire Harper, and that she would 'get' Harper if Harper voted for Roger Hayes." (Harper's brief p. 10.)
In late April 2000, Wright held a meeting of Department of Revenue employees to [**2] discuss tardiness and the need for employees to report to work promptly at 8:00 a.m. so that they would be available to assist customers at that time. Harper states that, on May 9, 2000, she reported to work at 8:03 a.m., and that Wright spoke to her about her tardiness. 1 Harper claims that during that conversation Wright "jumped up and was waving her hands in the air," and that Harper responded, telling Wright that, in light of the fact that other employees had been tardy, she believed Wright was treating her differently because of her support of Hayes. The conversation began to get heated, and Wright stated, "Sherry come to the back," indicating that Wright wanted Harper to go to Wright's office. Harper later testified at her post-termination hearing that when she refused to go with Wright, Wright "reached -- jerked for [her] -- jerked [her] arm and tried to pull [her] back." Harper admits that when she continued to resist going to Wright's office, Wright let go of her arm. The next day, May 10, 2000, Wright attempted to have a private meeting with Harper. Harper refused to attend the meeting without a witness present, because, she says, of Wright's previous threat to "get" [**3] Harper and because of the incident that had occurred the day before. On May 10, 2000, Wright terminated Harper's employment with the Department of Revenue, and she wrote the Winston County Commission to advise it that her termination of Harper's employment was effective that day.
Harper had filed on May 9, 2000, a complaint with the Winston County Commission claiming, among other things, that Wright had "repeatedly threatened [her] with termination of [her] job due to [her] political preference" and that Wright had "grabbed [her] arm and tried to force [her] to go with" Wright. On May 10, 2000, [*349] Harper received a written notice stating the reasons for her dismissal. After her [**4] termination, Harper received a notice that a "post-termination hearing" would be conducted before a hearing officer appointed by the Winston County Commission. The hearing was held on June 13, 2000.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
892 So. 2d 346 *; 2004 Ala. LEXIS 98 **; 21 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 567
Sherry Harper v. Winston County and Sandra Wright
Subsequent History: Released for Publication November 2, 2004.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from Winston Circuit Court. (CV-01-16).
Disposition: AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED IN PART; AND REMANDED.
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