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For the week of Apr. 5 through Apr. 11, 2000

Discrimination alleged in prosecutor’s office

Bolton’s claim lists 23 incidents of allegedly unfair or dishonest treatment of her.

Express Staff Writer

A Blaine County deputy prosecuting attorney has filed a claim against the county alleging poor treatment in her job by county Prosecuting Attorney Doug Werth.

The allegation by deputy prosecutor Jill Bolton—included in a tort claim—also raises questions about general personnel management at the office.

Werth was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Bolton, 31, filed the claim with the Blaine County clerk on March 27. Under Idaho law, a government entity has 90 days to act on a claim for liability against it before the claim can be filed in court.

The claim was filed six days after Bolton filed a claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging violation by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act on grounds of sex discrimination.

Bolton’s claim lists 23 incidents of allegedly unfair or dishonest treatment of her.

She alleges that Werth broke promises he made when he hired her and has favored other employees at her expense. She claims she has been relegated to prosecuting juvenile and misdemeanor cases when she should have been promoted to prosecuting felonies and handling civil matters.

Bolton also contends that her salary has not been increased at the same level as have the salaries of male attorneys in the office.

Bolton alleges that Werth acted maliciously, and that his acts have inflicted emotional distress upon her. She claims she has suffered several medical conditions as a result.

The county has hired a Boise attorney specializing in employment law to handle Bolton’s claim.

"We contest all the claims and believe that once her claims are resolved they will prove to be unfounded," said the county’s attorney, Candy Dale.

Dale described the alleged incidents of poor treatment set forth in Bolton’s claim as "either inaccurate descriptions or there’s an inaccurate gloss put on them."

Bolton’s claim states that she informed the county commissioners in August that Werth’s alleged "violations of county policy and his abuse of employees" had prompted many employees to resign, requiring the county to spend money training their replacements. The claim contends that Werth’s alleged mistreatment of her has been, in part, to retaliate for that communication with the commissioners.

Her claims add up to $444,000 plus an unspecified amount in lost wages.

Bolton’s attorney, Cynthia Woolley, said she has placed calls to the county but has received no response.

"I’m hopeful that we can have a response and it won’t have to go any further," Woolley said.

"We’re hopeful that by bringing this notice and the charge with the EEOC, Jill will not have to file a lawsuit, and the county will pay attention and bring the prosecuting attorney’s office into compliance with law and county policy."

However, that doesn’t appear likely.

Dale, the county attorney, said that because she sees no merit to the claim, she does not plan to make any formal response on the part of the county.

Werth has not filed for re-election and has announced plans to leave office at the end of the year.


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