Former 911 director Robyn Marshall claims she was wrongfully terminated from her job on Jan. 11, and she plans to take legal action against Belmont County.
Marshall retained Christina L. Corl, an attorney with the firm of Crabbe, Brown & James, to represent her in the matter. Corl recently outlined the circumstances surrounding Marshall's firing and speculated that Marshall's status as the only female county department head may have played a part in the decision. Corl also cited several prior complaints by Marshall to human resources regarding a hostile work environment and discrimination.
"We believe her termination is actually in retaliation for her prior complaints and because of her gender," Corl said, adding that Marshall is taking legal action against the county. "My client was faithfully doing her job to protect the citizens of Belmont County and to ensure that the 911 center was properly staffed to handle emergencies."
On Nov. 18, a severely injured child was brought to the 911 dispatch center. Two dispatchers rendered assistance to the child while an ambulance was en route to the site.
Once the ambulance, staffed by six paramedics, arrived, one of the dispatchers returned to her post.
The second dispatcher, without authorization and against policy, left her post and rode to the hospital in the ambulance.
According to Corl, the second dispatcher failed to tell anyone at the center she was leaving her post during her shift.
The child later died.
"My client, as 911 director, is in charge of supervising all 911 employees, including dispatchers," Corl stated. "My client had a conversation with an attorney for Belmont County, who told her to issue the AWOL dispatcher a verbal warning. After she administered the verbal reprimand to the dispatcher who left her post in the middle of her shift without telling anyone, my client received an email from the director of human resources for the county directing her not to issue the verbal reprimand.
"My client informed the director of human resources that the reprimand had already been issued and, thereafter, my client was terminated, without an explanation whatsoever," Corl added.
Corl said she has been informed that the six paramedics who allowed the dispatcher to ride in the ambulance to the hospital have been disciplined by their supervisor, a fire chief, for allowing an unauthorized person to ride in the ambulance.
"No action has been taken against the fire chief for issuing the discipline," Corl stated.
"There is simply no valid explanation for the termination of my client, especially since she was directed by an attorney for the county to issue the verbal reprimand," she added. "The only explanation is that there is an ulterior motive for her termination."
Commissioner Ginny Favede said the county's attorneys will respond to Marshall's allegations as necessary.
"We are aware that Ms. Marshall has threatened to sue Belmont County over her termination. While we cannot respond to non-specific allegations which will allegedly be made in a lawsuit that does not yet exist, we have notified the county's outside defense counsel. We are sure that counsel will take whatever action is necessary to protect the interests of the taxpayers of Belmont County," Favede said.