State dismisses discrimination claim against Aspen Police Department
A state civil rights administrator has dismissed a former Aspen community safety officer’s claim that she was fired because of sexual discrimination The ruling, from Director Wendell L. Pryor of the Department of Regulatory Agencies – Division of Civil Rights, states “there is not sufficient evidence to support” Kimberly Hay’s accusation that the police department violated city and state laws and fired her because of her gender. The Aspen Police Department received Pryor’s decision this week.The finding supports the claims of Police Chief Loren Ryerson and others in the police department, who maintained Hay was fired in 2004 for insubordination and poor job performance, according to the document containing the state’s decision.According to Ryerson and the city, Hay, who worked as a community safety officer from 1998 until November 2004, got into trouble with the department in February 2004 when her work truck allegedly was parked at the home of a friend during hours when she was supposed to be on duty.In early May, there was an alarm call at Baldwin Gallery and Hay failed to respond until 27 minutes after a dispatcher called her. She said she was eating lunch, according to the state document, but a call log indicated she took her lunch break at a different time, and Ryerson was quoted as saying her work truck had again been seen parked at her friend’s house that day.A day later, Hay allegedly took twice as long as necessary to respond to an accident call on Maroon Creek Road. On May 7, 2004, she was suspended for a day without pay, according to the documents, and placed on six months’ probation.On Nov. 4, 2004, after she allegedly failed to complete an assigned report on responses to bear sightings in town, the department fired her. Her appeals to City Hall officials were not successful, and Hay filed the discrimination complaint with the state.”The record indicates that she was not qualified to perform the essential duties of the position of CSO because of her inability to follow the rules and procedures necessary for the position,” the state document concludes.Hay, however, has maintained she was fired because she is a woman, which would be a violation of the city’s codes regarding discrimination. She also has filed a civil lawsuit in Pitkin County Court seeking $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages and asking for a jury trial.Attempts Wednesday to contact Hay were unsuccessful.John Colson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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