Fulton County commissioners agreed to pay $475,000 to a former employee who claimed he was fired after he complained his supervisor was bullying and harassing him.
Walker Tisdale, a senior public health educator who specialized in HIV/AIDS education, screening and prevention, said in a lawsuit he filed in 2014 that he was fired as retaliation for complaints he made to the county and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Tisdale said in the lawsuit that he had been discriminated against based on his sex, and retaliated against for making complaints. In the suit, he said Veronica Hartwell, his supervisor, called him a “sissy” and told him to “grow a set of balls” so she could “cut them off.” She also criticized him for his “gay voice,” Tisdale alleged.
The suit accused another supervisor of “inappropriate sexual touching.”
An attorney for Tisdale declined to comment on the case. In an emailed statement, Fulton County attorney Patrise Perkins-Hooker said, “We are glad that this matter has been resolved and the case closed.”
Fulton County denied the allegations in the suit, according to the settlement. The county also amended Tisdale’s personnel file so that he would again be eligible to be hired by the county.
In addition to the complaints about harassment, Tisdale said he was told to sign documents that certified he had only performed work that was to be paid for with a federal grant, when he had done other work that was not covered.
Patrice Harris, then-director of Fulton’s health department, resigned last year amid scrutiny of the way the county’s HIV prevention program was handled. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program was so poorly managed that the county was forced to return millions of dollars.