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Schuylkill County News

DOJ Wants to Join Jane Doe Lawsuit Against Halcovage and Schuylkill County

EEOC asked DOJ to intervene when it couldn’t reach agreement between the sparring sides.

dept of justice asks to intervene in jane doe lawsuit against schuylkill county government

The United States Dept. of Justice has filed a motion to intervene in the Jane Doe sexual harassment lawsuit against Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage, the County government, and several other County officials.

In a filing today before US Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson, Assistant US Attorney General Kristen Clarke, asks that the Dept. of Justice be added to the lawsuit against Schuylkill County. Clarke filed the motion because the DOJ believes this issue a matter of public importance, which compels the agency to get involved.

DOJ Seeks to Intervene on Jane Doe Lawsuit v. Halcovage and Schuylkill County

The DOJ seeks relief for the 4 Jane Doe plaintiffs and all County employees current and future, essentially. In its “Prayer for Relief” on the filing, DOJ asks that Carlson rule in favor of:

  • Enjoining the County from causing, creating, or condoning a sexually or retaliatory hostile work environment;
  • Ordering the County to develop and implement appropriate and effective measures designed to prevent and correct harassment and retaliation, including, but not limited to, policies and training for employees and managers;
  • Ordering the County to develop appropriate and effective measures to receive complaints of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, as well as a process for investigating such complaints;
  • Awarding compensatory damages to Plaintiffs to fully compensate them for their injuries caused by the County’s discriminatory and retaliatory conduct, pursuant to and within the statutory limitations;
  • Awarding any additional equitable relief necessary to make the Plaintiffs whole; and
  • Awarding such additional relief as justice may require, together with the United States’ costs and disbursements in this action.

In its motion, the DOJ realleges everything already filed in the complaint against Halcovage, the County government as a whole, County Administrator Gary Bender, County HR Director Heidi Zula and then-Interim HR Director Doreen Kutzler.

That suit alleges that Halcovage subjected these 4 female employees to a years-long pattern of sexual harassment. And it further alleges that not only were the other County officials complicit with this behavior but also took retaliatory actions against all 4 Jane Does since their initial complaint, including but not limited to:

  • Restructuring their office
  • Suspending them from their jobs
  • Docking their pay

The DOJ is asking to intervene in this case after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission failed to negotiate a voluntary resolution between the County and the Jane Does. The EEOC determined last year that the actions taken by County officials were retaliatory. The County disagreed with the EEOC findings.

When it couldn’t reach that voluntary resolution, EEOC referred charges to the DOJ.

Developing story … More to come

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  1. It's me

    April 2, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Getting interesting!

  2. PTFloridians

    April 7, 2022 at 7:48 am

    Why has the pattern of abuse has gone on for YEARS?…
    …just exposes the sheer incompetence and ineptitude of our County government and officials
    …why didn’t the “Doe”s say or do anything, in an official capacity sooner…sounds odd.

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