The third of four female plaintiffs suing the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department on allegations of discrimination was served notice Thursday afternoon by the department.
Jona Scher, a community services officer with the department, was officially served notice of the Sheriff’s Department’s intent to terminate her employment days after it served fellow plaintiffs Tanya Hunt and Nicole Sahaj-Myers.
The notice, typed on letterhead bearing retired Sheriff Jeff Neves’ name, lists neglect of duty and conduct tending to bring the county service into disrepute as reasons for her termination.
But like Hunt and Sahaj-Myers, Scher is convinced she was served notice because of the pending lawsuit she filed in July.
“It’s definitely the reason,” she said.
The suit, filed with fellow CSOs Sahaj-Myers and Stacie Walls, alleges the existence of a “good ol’ boys” club within the department that targets single female employees deemed weak or vulnerable.
Deputy Hunt filed her own suit in June, also accusing the “good ol’ boys” club of discrimination.
Victims of the club, according to court documents, are subjected to sexual harassment and double standards.
“The department has people in-house that (administrators) know are doing wrong and they’re still here,” said Scher. “It’s just part of the boys’ club.”
Scher, Sahaj-Myers and Walls met with the Mountain Democrat Thursday afternoon, shortly after Scher was served notice.
“This just proves the department’s bullyism,” said Sahaj-Myers. “If they had a legitimate reason to fire us, they wouldn’t have waited a year to do it. It’s an intimidation factor.”
Walls, who has not been served notice of the department’s intent to terminate, said it’s only a matter of time before she too is fired.
“We’re trying to figure out what they’re going to come up with to get rid of me,” she quipped.
The timing of the firings — weeks before Sheriff-elect John D’Agostini is sworn in — is also politically motivated, according to the women.
“They’re trying to make him jump through as many hoops as possible,” said Scher. “The taxpayers should be highly disgusted.”
Scher pledged to continue her legal battle and said she would return to work if reinstated by the sheriff-elect.
“I loved my job,” she said.
Barring any change in decision, Scher’s final day will be Dec. 23.
Sheriff-elect D’Agostini would not discuss specifics of the women’s case but promised to evaluate all personnel matters when sworn in next month.
Sheriff Fred Kollar has declined to comment on the terminations, saying the department is legally prohibited from discussing personnel issues.
E-mail Jim Ratajczak at email@example.com or call 530-344-5071.