South Georgia city leaders upheld the decision to fire their city manager over sexual harassment allegations on June 25th after a three-hour appeals hearing. Former Americus City Manager, Charles Coney, stands to be terminated with cause.
Coney Was Terminated in February
Charles Coney was fired in February 2020 the day after completing one year at the job. He was terminated after an Atlanta law firm looked into sexual harassment complaints filed by city employees. The city council observed that the complaints consisted of sexism and inappropriate content besides sexual harassment.
Coney’s Lawyer Maintained Racism
The three hour appeal boiled down to defining a good cause for termination and racism. The arguments by legal representatives of the City of Americus and Coney’s attorney, Maurice King, were made in front of a majority-black council.
The legal team of City of Americus consisting of Timothy Boughey and John Bennett vehemently disputed claims of racism in their opening statements. They stated that Coney was hired by the same body that hired a black HR director.
King told the council members in his opening statement that if any of them were treated in a similar manner, they would be screaming racism and unfair treatment.
King Claimed All Sexual Harassment Claims to be False
King steadfastly refused his client to have engaged in any activity that could be construed as sexual harassment, while City of Americus representatives did not budge from their stance of sexism and sexual harassment.
Two witnesses brought forth by the City of Americus were cross-examined by King during the appeal and he established that Coney had comfortable working relationships with all employees that filed the complaint.
There were three complaints documented in the investigation report. Coney did not have to testify since he was not subpoenaed. However, City of Americus’ legal team stated that a subpoena was not required for the appeals hearing.
Sexual Harassment Can be in Various Forms
Actions that can be construed as sexual harassment depends on unique circumstances and the people involved. This makes it important to get in touch with a sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible. Sexual harassment can be in the form of threats or bribes for sexual activity, whether direct or indirect.
They can also be unwelcome brush, touch, display of sexual material or body parts, or sexual assault in any form. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act governs all forms of sexual harassment at workplace. An experienced sexual harassment attorney can help victims understand their rights and the best way to move forward with a lawsuit.