Former Sheriff's Office employee gets $307,500 in settlement

Jul 06, 2015 at 08:00 am by bryan

An elderly Rutherford County Sheriff's Office employee fired in 2012 after two knee replacements has reached a $307,500 settlement with the county in an age and disability complaint.

Murfreesboro Post writer Sam Stockard says records show Joy Nelson, who worked at the sheriff's office for 19 years, received the settlement June 24 in Chancery Court. The Rutherford County finance office provided the amount of the award after an open records request by The Post.

Nelson initially sought $250,000 for back pay with interest and lost benefits, in addition to damages for humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish, in a discrimination lawsuit, according to Chancery Court documents initially filed Feb. 8, 2013.

Nelson, who was 75 when she was fired, asked to be returned to her job in February 2012 after knee replacements in October 2010 and February 2011 forced her to use a cane for balance.

Stockard reports without warning, she was called into Chief Administrative Deputy Joe Russell's office in February 2012 and told the department was either going to "retire her or terminate her," the lawsuit states. She was advised to think about it over the weekend and to look for a part-time job.

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