Former domestic violence shelter employees file lawsuit

January 03. 2014

LIMA — Several former employees of a local domestic violence shelter filed a lawsuit this week alleging they were discriminated and retaliated against.

Paula Jenkins and Mariah Upshaw, both of Lima, and William L. Swope, a trustee for the estate of Diane Morman of Findlay, filed the lawsuit this week in Allen County Common Pleas Court seeking $900,000 in damages. The lawsuit names as defendants Crossroads Crisis Center of Lima and its director, Emily Wrencher.

Wrencher could not be reached for comment Friday.

The lawsuit originally was filed in U.S. District Court but refilled locally due to questions of jurisdiction and an agreement between the parties.

Jenkins said she was employed by the center for nearly 17 years as a residential victims’ advocate. She said in 2012 she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission alleging age discrimination, sexual harassment, forced resignation and said conditions of her employment created a hostile work environment, according to the lawsuit.

Jenkins said she was discharged July 27, 2012, as a result of never-ending accusations, an investigation and retaliation against her. She said she was given extra duties not given to younger employees and was accused of lying, according to the lawsuit.

Morman was a resident advocate. Her trustee accused the agency of similar accusations but said she was discriminated against in favor of younger employees, the lawsuit said.

Upshaw worked at Crossroads for 17 years before her discharge on July 25, 2012. She said she was criticized for her job performance and humiliated in front of other staff. She said younger employees were given preferential treatment.