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Wrongful Termination of Georgia Jail Guards by New Sheriff Settles for $7 Million

A $7 million settlement has been reached between the sheriff of Georgia?s Clayton County and 34 employees he fired on his first day in office. The employees alleged they were discriminated against based on their race and political preference.

Upon taking office as Clayton County?s Sheriff in January 2005, Victor Hill had 34 employees of his jail, who were mostly white, escorted to a prisoner housing facility when they arrived at their usual work time. They were told to surrender their guns and badges so new ones could be issued. As they did so, armed guards stood nearby.

Rather than being issued new guns or badges, the employees were handed papers stating they were fired. While they were escorted from the jail premises, snipers stood on the roof of the building to watch their departure. Employees who had use of county vehicles were taken to their residences in vans used for prisoner transportation.

The employees claimed they were fired because they backed Hill?s opponent during the preceding election. Hill, who is black, contended the firings were necessary to reorganize the work force to eliminate dysfunctional staff members. A state court judge, in a separate case, granted the employees a restraining order against Hill and Clayton County to re-hire the employees immediately. While that order was complied with, the employees were placed on administrative leave and not allowed to return to their former positions.

The June 19, 2007, settlement equally divides the $7 million amongst the employees. They were represented by Atlanta attorney Harlan Stuart Miller,3rd See: DOC v. Clayton County, Georgia, Clayton County Superior Court, Case No. 2005CV00016-99.

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Related legal case

DOC v. Clayton County, Georgia