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Posted: October 23, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Another ex-employee sues Social Circle

Yet another lawsuit has been filed against the city of Social Circle and City Manager Doug White from a former city employee citing wrongful retaliation and discrimination.

Jerome Knox, who worked in the city's streets department for three years, says he was wrongfully terminated in November 2010 after roughly a year's worth of harassment and false accusations by other employees.

Knox says he was hired by Doug White and at first, "things were great."

"I've lived here all my life and this was my chance to really serve my community," he said.

But after a couple of months, a group of employees - all from the city's gas department - began to harass him. Knox said the group started "calling him out" and "discriminating against him." Every time there was an incident he says he reported it to the street superintendent. After the first year, according to Knox, things "started to escalate." He says the group accused him of tearing up equipment and of theft, even getting the city police involved. However Knox was never charged with any wrongdoing.

"The first incident that came up there was some metal taken and this was their first opportunity to get me," he said.

Knox says he continued to report the men and eventually went to White "to set the record straight."

"He took their side and terminated me," Knox said. He also said that racial slurs were made but would not say who made them.

"My termination should have never taken place. I was out on doctor's leave and I came into the office with second degree burns on both of my arms and he [White] terminated me and took away my insurance."

Knox applied for unemployment and while it was granted, he says the city tried to fight it, saying that he was insubordinat; however the appeal was denied and Knox was granted unemployment. He also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to Knox, the commission's year-long investigation ended with it telling him he had a right to file suit and they had found wrongdoing.

E-mails to the city's attorney had not been returned as of press time.

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