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Former deputy to file wrongful termination claim


   A former deputy from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has filed notice of intent to file a wrongful termination claim with the U.S. District Court in Portland.
   Tami J. Yates, 32, of Madras, and her attorney Jeffrey Boiler, of Eugene, allege that when Yates was employed by the JCSO from July of 2006 through December of 2007, she was subjected to unwanted suggestive advances from an officer.
   "Her union vice president at the time strongly encouraged her to file a written complaint in order to address the hostile workplace environment created by Sheriff Jones and tolerated or enabled by his subordinates," Boiler wrote in the notice.
   In the background for the claim, Boiler said that Yates was disciplined on Aug. 28, 2007, for drinking in public, "even though two male deputies at the same location and at the same time received no such discipline."
   The discipline occurred less than a week after Yates complained that she had been sexually harassed.
   Yates received a negative job evaluation in November, which cited seven case files that were completed several months late; a bad attitude; a false arrest; a lack of integrity in completing work; and ineffective time management.
   Sheriff Jack Jones suspended her for three days without pay as a result of the evaluation.
   Because of the pending lawsuit, Jones said he could not comment on the matter, other than to note, "There are two sides to every story and that's all I can say."
   On Dec. 23, 2007, Jones informed Yates that she would be terminated, and she was put on administrative leave. She received the termination letter on Dec. 31.
   After a hearing before the Employment Division in which the county claimed that Yates was terminated for misconduct, the Employment Division decided in Yates' favor and awarded her unemployment benefits on Jan. 16.
   Boiler said he will file the federal lawsuit "perhaps as soon as the next few months. That decision is a tactical one which I can't discuss until after it is made."
   County attorney Alexa Gassner said she would not be handling the case, and could not comment on the matter.
   "We have sent this to our insurance company and they will be handling it," she said.