An investigator with the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has reportedly found that the town of Old Orchard Beach retaliated against an office manager, Kelly Roy, because she blew the whistle on allegedly unlawful financial activity. After she blew the whistle, Old Orchard Beach reduced her hours, took away her cell phone stipend, and forced her to punch a time clock even though her co-workers were not required to do the same.
The MHRC will vote on whether to accept the investigator’s finding at its next meeting in May. If the MHRC votes in favor of Roy, the MHRC will attempt to help Roy and Old Orchard Beach reach a settlement of Roy’s claims so that both parties can avoid a lawsuit. At these junctures in the MHRC process, complainants, like Roy, often look for a lawyer to both represent them before the MHRC and to help negotiate a settlement of their claims. Without good legal advice, unrepresented complainants often do not know how much money and/or other relief they should accept to settle their claims. Many employers also usually do not offer as much money and/or other relief to unrepresented complainants because they are not as concerned that an unrepresented complainant will file a successful lawsuit against it if the case does not settle.