Former shelter manager says discrimination led to her dismissal

July 08, 1992|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- A former employee of a county women's shelter said yesterday that she was mistreated by her supervisor and wrongly let go from her job.

But Lynda Gainor, deputy director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., said Gail Gill's contract was not renewed because she did not fulfill her job duties.

Ms. Gill, of Westminster, spoke at a news conference last night at Union Memorial Baptist Church at 160 S. Center St. that was organized by the Rev. Mary Carter Cross, president of the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Ms. Cross said "unfair accusations" were made against Ms. Gill by her supervisor and that she was treated "as scum, like dirt."

Ms. Gill said she worked for HSP for three years and had been the manager at the shelter for women and children on Distillery Drive when her contract was not renewed on June 9.

Ms. Gill, in her early 30s, said she feels she was discriminated against because she is black.

She said she was told to perform cleaning duties at the shelter that were not in her job description and was criticized repeatedly for "petty" matters such as leaving cracker boxes open in a cabinet and leaving laundry detergent out.

"I feel I was cheated out of my job. I was harassed," she said.

Mrs. Gainor said she is aware of Ms. Gill's charges, but said the job includes cleaning work. She said Ms. Gill was not discriminated against because of her race.

"Sometimes, it comes down to a housekeeping job," she said.

Last month, Ms. Cross and Ms. Gill met with Mrs. Gainor, HSP Director Sylvia Canon, Gill's supervisor Linda Tully and Kathryn Bitzer, another HSP employee, to discuss Ms. Gill's situation.

After the meeting, Mrs. Gainor said she and Ms. Canon wrote positive letters of recommendation for Ms. Gill but did not renew her contract.

Ms. Cross said Ms. Gill was not satisfied with the letters. She did not have copies of them last night.

Mrs. Gainor said Ms. Gill and Ms. Tully had a personality conflict, but that was not the reason Ms. Gill's contract was not renewed.

Three women who lived at the shelter when Ms. Gill worked there attended the news conference to support Ms. Gill and praise her compassion. She listened to their problems when no one else would, they said.

Mrs. Gainor said that even though helping people and listening to them are among Ms. Gill's strengths, it was Ms. Tully's job to counsel the clients.

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