Casco human rights complaint tabled

CASCO — The Maine Human Rights Commission (HRC) will rule on an age-discrimination complaint levied against the Town of Casco — six weeks later than originally scheduled.

Irene Morton v. Town of Casco was scratched from Monday’s agenda of items slated for a ruling by the commission. A ruling on the case has been rescheduled for Oct. 31, according to HRC Case Controller Cindy Albert.

“The case was tabled,” Albert said.

Morton filed the age discrimination charge against the town’s rescue department on Jan. 31. Morton said she did not want to comment on the issue because the commission had not ruled on it yet.

According to HRC paperwork, Morton filed the claim because she had been given fewer hours than younger counterparts in the rescue department. An investigator’s report by HRC concluded that Morton’s age-discrimination claims were valid.

“There are reasonable grounds that the Town of Casco discriminated against Irene Morton on the basis of age,” according to an HRC investigator’s written recommendations.

The report also said that town employees did not supply adequate information to HRC investigators.

“The attempt to thoroughly investigate this matter was thwarted by the Town of Casco’s refusal to provide responses to the salient questions,” according to the report.

While investigators were interviewing the parties involved, Rescue Chief Holly Hancock said Morton had turned down shifts that were available. The investigators repeatedly asked Hancock to produce a list of which shifts were available, and did not get an answer, the report said. The investigator wrote that the shifts offered to Morton may have been less desirable ones.

Holly Hancock said during a phone interview that she could not comment on the case.

“I am prevented to say anything by the commission. It’s the law,” Hancock said, adding, “So, no comment.”

Before being tabled, the Casco case was scheduled to be heard before the HRC Monday afternoon, Sept. 19. Earlier this week, the HRC’s website showed that the case was still listed on the agenda for Monday’s meeting. That information was incorrect, Albert said. The agenda had not been updated on the webpage after the case was postponed, she said.

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