DOT Settles Discrimination Lawsuit

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dot-largeA Department of Transportation engineer who said she was bypassed for promotion and wrongly accused of harassment has settled a federal discrimination lawsuit against the state agency.

Under the terms, the DOT paid Christine Aubrey $130,000 to cover her legal fees, promoted her to principal engineer and gave her $16,000 in back pay. She was bypassed for the job nearly three years ago, although she said she had been deemed qualified for it.

Aubrey had been a transportation engineer for the agency. She said in the lawsuit that she received a 15-day suspension in 2006 based on a false complaint lodged against her by a male employee whom she supervised, and that the unfounded discipline contributed to her losing out on the promotion.

DOT spokesman Judd Everhart said Friday that the agency would have no comment on Aubrey's case.

This was the second discrimination lawsuit settled against the DOT in recent weeks. Lisa Fazzino, former operations manager at Bradley International Airport, recently accepted a payment of $18,306.

Aubrey said in the federal lawsuit that she was the victim of discrimination based on gender, and a victim of retaliation. In the past, she had complained about what she said were discriminatory actions at the DOT, and also filed an ethics complaint in 2006 against a DOT colleague, saying that he "was doing private work with subordinate employees on state work time."

In the lawsuit, she said she was falsely accused in 2006 of sexual harassment by a worker who she said was a close friend of a DOT colleague, Charles LaChance.

Aubrey said in the suit that the complaint led to an investigation by Diane Donato, DOT's director of equal opportunity assurance. Aubrey said she was transferred from her district office and later suspended for 15 days. Meanwhile, LaChance was selected for the job of principal engineer, the suit said. Aubrey had interviewed for the job and had been deemed qualified, Aubrey said in the lawsuit.

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