By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — Allegations of retaliation and denying a former employee from applying for another city job has the municipality in court again.
Former Parks and Recreation employee Ken Briere is suing the city for wrongful termination after he was fired 45 days after filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the city. Briere’s attorney, Ray Guzull, said his client was an 11-year employee who was denied the ability to apply for a foreman job.
Guzall said the case is in the discovery phase in the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan. He said there is another month left for this phase.
He said his client was injured on the job and later knew there was a foreman job available.
“The job was never posted and they wouldn’t let him apply for it,” Guzall said. “The EEOC complaint (in the lawsuit) stems from the failure of them to give him an interview.”
Briere then filed an EEOC complaint with the EEOC and 45 days later, on Aug. 15, 2014, he was fired.
Guzall said Briere injured his shoulder on the job and required surgery. He wasn’t able to lift anything over his head or subject himself to repetitive movement.
Briere’s lawsuit comes on the heels of a recently settled lawsuit by resident Matt Tracer against the city. Guzall also defended Tracer.
Tracer was awarded more than $60,000 in the lawsuit settled in October. He sued Mayor William Matakas and the City Council in 2014. Tracer cited the mayor kept him from speaking during a 2013 council meeting and had him falsely arrested.
Tracer said the events caused him emotional distress and he planned to move from the city after living there for 46 years, fearing further wrongful imprisonment and trumped charges.
Tracer was removed from a May 14, 2013, City Council meeting alleging police were making false statements and were performing illegal and improper acts.
A city council member said Tracer reportedly clucked like a chicken and called the mayor a coward. Matakas ordered Tracer removed from the meeting, citing he was causing a disturbance.
Afterward, Tracer obtained a transcript of the meeting, pointing out Matakas called him a “loon.”
Tracer said he made it known before the next council meeting that he was going to share the “loon” comment during public comments. But Guzall said Tracer didn’t because in an effort to quiet Tracer, the mayor had him arrested before the meeting.
Prior to this lawsuit, Tracer hired Guzall to represent him after he was arrested and the police allegedly broke his ribs. The case was settled out of court.
Guzall has had various encounters with the city, saying officials don’t always do the smartest things.
Guzall has had various encounters in court with the city, including nearly 12 years ago when late resident Curtis McGuire was arrested during a council meeting while protesting the council’s actions. Guzall said the case was settled out of court.
City officials did not respond to phone calls as of press time.
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at email@example.com.)