Former Rockville city employee sues for ‘intolerable’ work conditions -- Gazette.Net


A former employee has filed a lawsuit against the city of Rockville, claiming “intolerable” working conditions forced him into early medical retirement.

Charles Baker of North Potomac filed a complaint Aug. 12 in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

This is the third time in the past seven months that a current or former employee has filed a lawsuit against the city. Last spring, one current and one former employee filed complaints against the city, claiming they were discriminated against because they are black.

According to the most recent complaint, Baker has worked for the city since 1984. In 2005, he was promoted to chief of inspection services, and in 2008, Susan Swift, director of the Community Planning and Development Services Department, became his supervisor.

Baker’s lawsuit claims that Swift “engaged in unabated and outrageous bullying behavior,” but the human resources manager at that time, Carlos Vargas, and city manager Scott Ullery each “turned a blind eye”to his complaints about Swift.

Vargas and Ullery no longer work for the City of Rockville.

At one point, the complaint says, Baker worked overtime to finish a report and turned it in, but Swift called him into the office on Palm Sunday (a Christian holy day) to staple the report pages together.

The lawsuit claims that Swift gave Baker an employee review that contained “intentional misrepresentations” and concluded that he was not entitled to his annual salary increase and could face termination upon another unfavorable review. She also requested that Baker be suspended for not completing an assignment when, the lawsuit claims, he had completed it.

The “hostile and intolerable work environment” took a toll on Baker’s mental health, the complaint says, and in 2011, he took medical disability retirement.

A scheduling hearing is set for November. Marylou Berg, spokeswoman for the city of Rockville, said the city’s policy is to decline to comment on pending litigation.