The suit alleges that since Potter was hired in 2013, he has intentionally created a discriminatory and hostile work environment for women, minorities and women more than 40 years old. These actions include an incident in December 2013 when Potter referred to a female staff member as “the one with the big tits.” In October, Potter told The Columbian he made the statement but denied further allegations of derogatory comments.
“I regret it; have apologized for it; and have learned from the experience,” Potter said previously. “It was an isolated incident in a public career that spans over 25 years. It was not representative of what (I) expect from myself or others.”
The suit states Potter received a corrective counseling memorandum for his conduct in September 2016.
Quinn also details alleged retaliation that stems from her 2014 application for chief assistant city attorney. Quinn alleges she was the preferred candidate for the position by a panel of staff from the city attorney’s office, but not of a second panel consisting of male management staff. Quinn alleges Potter made sexist and derogatory remarks to the male panel about Quinn to discourage her selection. Young was selected for the position although he did not apply or interview for the job, she states. Quinn alleges that Potter selected Young because he wanted Young to succeed him as city attorney.
The suit also outlines further claims of gender discrimination and retaliation.
In November 2015, Quinn was put on administrative leave minutes before she was scheduled for an interview to discuss claims of gender and other discrimination with an investigator looking into allegations made by former assistant city attorney Suzanne Lampkin. Quinn states she was placed on leave without informing her of the cause. She was on leave for four months and received no reprimand upon return to work. While on leave, the city settled Lampkin’s claim for $100,000 and a second complaint made by former city procurement specialist Kimberly Armstrong for $150,000.
“When I was returned to work, some of my work had been taken away, my merit pay increase was delayed and I felt retaliated against and complained of being retaliated against three separate times,” Quinn said in her whistleblower claim.