Supervisors in the Salt Lake County attorney's office appeared to be out to get fired secretary Debra Sauers late last year, punishing her for doing the same things other secretaries were doing, according to Shauna Clark.
Clark, who recently accepted a settlement with the county after filing a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, told the county's Career Service Council Thursday that secretaries in the county attorney's south valley office were told not to talk to Sauers.Supervisors told the secretaries whom they could go to lunch with, and made sure Sauers ate with someone she normally did not associate with, Clark said.
Clark and Sauers were the victims listed in the forcible sexual abuse indictments against former Salt Lake County Attorney Ted L. Cannon. The indictments were handed up by a grand jury in 1986.
The Career Service Council, a three-person tribunal that hears grievances by county employees, is deciding whether Sauers should be given her job back. The hearing is scheduled to continue Friday.
County officials claim Sauers was fired in January because her production was extremely low and judges were complaining that criminal charges were not being typed soon enough.
Sauers' supervisor, Karen Collette, told the council two weeks ago that Sauers was a problem in the office. Collette testified that a judge wrote a letter complaining that a man booked into jail on a misdemeanor spent 20 days in jail before a criminal complaint outlining the charges against him was received.
The complaint should have been typed within 72 hours. It was Sauers' responsibility to type the complaint, but she procrastinated, Collette said.
Sauers' attorney, former county prosecutor Gerry D'Elia, contends County Attorney David Yocom wanted to fire Sauers because she had spoken to a political group for women about sexual harassment. D'Elia said Yocom is vindictive and rules his office through intimidation.
Yocom refused Sauers' requests to be transferred to the downtown office because she supported Clark in her lawsuit, D'Elia said.
Clark, who now is a secretary in the county's justice division, said all the secretaries in her office were behind in their work, but Sauers was the only one reprimanded. The secretaries banded together to help Sauers, finishing her work while everyone else remained behind.
"Basically everything Debbie did she got in trouble for," Clark said. "We were all in the same position. We were all behind in our work."
Clark said she was transferred one day after she finally told a supervisor she didn't like the way Sauers was treated.
Dorothy Tueller, Sauers' mother, testified that Yocom became upset after Sauers spoke at the political meeting because he received several letters from women at the meeting. The letters urged him to help Sauers and Clark, Tueller said.
Yocom has not been asked to testify in the hearing.