Co. prosecutor claims termination is retaliation for "whistle blowing"

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by Adrianna Hopkins

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 6, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 6 at 11:42 PM

A Jefferson County Prosecutor is out of a job and she says she was fired because she blew the whistle about a hostile, discriminatory work environment created by the current County Attorney,  Mike O’Connell.

But O’Connell calls the accusations baseless and said the prosecutor wasn't doing her job.

Now, Bradshaw says she'll run against her former boss for the job as County Attorney.

This all stems from a problem back in 2007 when 600 felony defendants were set free because police officers didn't show up to district court hearings.

County Attorney Mike O’Connell says Glenda Bradshaw let a policy to track those instances lapse. He fired her and now she says she plans to file a lawsuit.

It's a story of he said... she said... County Attorney Mike O'Connell terminated the 16 year veteran prosecutor Glenda Bradshaw saying she stopped enforcing office policy.

"Was I upset that a well paid Division Director failed to continue a new office policy aimed at reducing the number of felony defendants being set free? Of course. Any boss would be upset if an employee failed to do the job they were assigned to do. Did my being upset rise to the level of a hostile work environment? Absolutely not," said Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell.

But Bradshaw says she did do her job. And she says the reason O'Connell let her go because she blew the whistle on his bad behavior.

"Yelling, uncontrollable anger, getting in your face when he's angry. And treating in my situation on at least more than one occasion, he treated me different than he treated male co-workers," said Glenda Bradshaw.

"In regards to her charges of sexual discrimination, they are ridiculous and absurd. My first assistant and three division directors are females. I strongly believe every employee should be treated with dignity and respect," said O'Connell.

This all stems from a problem back in 2007, when 600 felony defendants were set free because police officers didn't show up to district court hearings. O'Connell says bottom line, Bradshaw failed to make sure the 70 prosecutors in her division filed reports when police officers didn't show up in court. Bradshaw says that wasn't her fault.

"The reports did not actually go to me per Mr. O'Connell and Ms. Hardesty's set-up. But I am the one who was fired, even though I was not the person who was supposed to be completing the reports," said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw has plans to run against O'Connell for County Attorney in the upcoming election. But she says the wrongful termination lawsuit she plans to file isn't a political move.

"People have tried to get me to run for office for 15 or 20 years. And I've always been perfectly content being a prosecutor. It has nothing to do with politics," she said.

Bradshaw also said whenever she noticed the prosecutors in her division weren't complying with the policy, she sent them an email pointing it out. Her attorney Tom Clay plans to file a wrongful termination lawsuit demanding $600,000 in damages.

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