RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — A woman is suing Rutherford County mayor Bill Ketron, saying she was denied a position for being female.
According to the lawsuit, Melissa Kilpatrick applied for the position of Probation and Recovery Services director in May. She says she, another woman, and Steve Ervin, who ultimately was hired for the position, were the three persons selected to be interviewed.
The lawsuit alleges that Ervin was "woefully unqualified for the position" and that both the female applicants interviewed were "vastly more qualified and better in every relevant way for the position than was Mr. Ervin."
In addition to being the Probation and Recovery Services director, the lawsuit says Ervin is also a member of the Rutherford County Commission. In his application, when asked about his experience for the job, he wrote: "The only experience I have with drug abuse is dealing with my brother for the past fifteen years getting him help through drug programs."
Kilpatrick served an internship with the Rutherford County Recovery Court in 2015, and was employed there as a case manager from 2015-2018. She was "terminated without warning" on October 18th, 2019, and is claiming she was unlawfully retaliated against by Ervin, because "she was a woman and she had applied for the Director's position."
Additionally, she says Ervin made sexist remarks "insinuating that female employees are weak and more in need of protection than are male employees." Kilpatrick complained about the sexist remarks to the human resources director.
Kilpatrick is asking for a jury verdict of $750,000, as well as replacing Ervin as director of Probation and Recovery Services.
We've reached out to Mayor Bill Ketron's office for a response.