Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295.
Editor Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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BREAKING NEWS: Former County Employee Sues Pike County for Sexual Discrimination and Retaliation; Demands Jury Trial
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - A lawsuit has been filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Pike County by former employee Kay Landers.

Landers filed this complaint pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 alleging that she was subjected to discrimination based on sex by current County Manager Brandon Rogers while she was employed by Pike County government. She also states that sexual discrimination resulted in the termination of her employment as well as retaliation.

Kenneth E. Barton III of Cooper, Barton & Cooper LLP of Macon is the opposing attorney on this lawsuit.

Termination of Landers' Employment at Pike Commission Office

Through an open records request, Pike County Times obtained Landers' Termination of Employment and all accompanying documents that are dated April 21, 2021. This termination was delivered by hand in the form of a letter addressed from Rogers to Landers.

Rogers' termination was based on Landers' denial of taking a photo during business hours that later appeared on Facebook with an attack on the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners under a fake Facebook account.

The letter of termination stated that based on the video footage that was shared with Landers along with additional footage that was also reviewed, it was Rogers' belief that Landers was seen taking the photo that later appeared on Facebook under a fake account for "Jake Pike."

"Your refusal to admit to taking the photo you are seen taking in the video, raises to [sic] much concern for me to allow you to continue to work as the Financial Officer for Pike County," Rogers wrote.

Rogers went on to say that it was determined that the photo, which later resulted in a negative post directed at the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, was taken during business hours while Landers was on the clock and that was a direct violation of County Policy 36.34 which reads as follows:


It is the policy of this County that the internal affairs of Pike County, particularly confidential information, represent a public trust that each employee has a continuing obligation to protect. Information designated as confidential, including but not limited to investigation, legal matter, etc., is to be discussed with no one outside the organization and only discussed within the organization on a “need to know” basis. In addition, employees have a responsibility to avoid unnecessary disclosure of non-confidential information about the County, its employees, its citizens, and its suppliers. This responsibility is not intended to impede normal business communications and relationships, but is intended to alert employees to their obligation to use discretion to safeguard internal County affairs. Employees violating the intent of this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. (Ord. Passed 10-30-07)"

Click here to read from Pike County's Book of Ordinance: http://www.pikecoga.com/uploads/1/3/3/6/133643513/chapter_36-_personnel_policy.pdf

Landers’ Complaint

Landers’ complaint states that she worked with the county on several different occasions over the past ten years and most recently served as the county’s Financial Administrative Supervisor when she was hired to come back to the county in June of 2020. [Note from the Editor: Brandon Rogers was named as interim county manager and later appointed county manager after Ron Alexander’s June 10, 2020 resignation.]

She has made the allegations that a less qualified male applicant was hired as the head of Planning & Zoning over her as well as seeing numerous female coworkers resign over time “after having been subjected to similar treatment as Ms. Landers.” She also alleges that she as seen Rogers become “angry and offended” when female county employees showed greater expertise in areas like finance or human resources.

Landers was terminated from her county position on April 21, 2021 after being accused of taking a picture that later showed up on social media in an attack against a commissioner. According to the lawsuit, Landers was terminated because she refused to admit that she was the woman in the video who took the photo.

However, the attorney argued that even if she did take the photo, she did not violate Pike County’s Personnel Policy in Section 36.34 regarding confidential information because the post did not contain confidential information.

Did Pike County Abide By Its Policies?

According to the lawsuit, Landers said that she declined to come to an April 16, 2021 meeting discussing her termination because she assumed that she was going to be fired. Her employment with Pike County was terminated by County Manager Brandon Rogers on April 21, 2021.

Landers said that the county “technically complied” with Personnel Policy Section 36.20(c)(4) by suspending her for three days prior to termination, but that it failed to provide Landers or its Human Resources Administrator with a written statement setting forth the reasons for her suspension with a recommendation for dismissal “within one (1) working day of the effective action.”

Landers further alleged that the county failed to provide her with a “Pre-Termination Hearing” as is required under Personnel Policy 36.19 and that Personnel Policy 36.20 says that within three (3) days of an employee being notified of charges against them, the county’s Human Resource Administrator was supposed to hold a conference in which the employee may present evidence related to the accusations in which the Appeals Committee was supposed to review the information and render a decision.

Landers’ complaint stated that Pike County’s Personnel Policy required the county’s Human Resources Administrator to advise the employee of the right to appeal by a written notification.

Landers' attorney sent written correspondence to the county on April 29, 2021 to advise that the county failed to follow its own policies, demanded her reinstatement to her job position, and appealed her termination.

Landers’ attorney stated that terminating her employment based solely on a video of a woman taking a picture in a video is a discrimination based on sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which resulted in the Board of Commissioners being aware that Landers was requesting an appeal, alleging that she had been discriminated against, and was considering the pursuit of a charge of discrimination based on sex. The complaint stated that the commissioners discussed the matter in Executive Session for nearly 45 minutes on May 12, 2021.

According to the lawsuit, the county advised Landers that she would be allowed to appeal her termination, but she was also advised that Rogers was "not interested in Ms. Landers returning to work in Pike County.” Since reinstatement would not be a possibility, she “decided to forego such a fruitless endeavor.”

Landers has accused the county and Rogers of appearing to have “some involvement in the reasons” that she was denied employment in more than 20 job applications.

At the end of the lawsuit, it was noted that the county was going to allow Rogers to appear before an Appeals Committee prior to taking disciplinary action based on a grievance filed against him for creating a hostile work environment on May 2, 2023.

Landers’ complaint was filed against the county on May 1, 2023.

[Note from the Editor: Click here to read the articles regarding the public hearing on May 2, 2023 and the suggestions made by the Appeals Committee regarding Library Manager Rosemary Bunn's accusation of a hostile work environment against County Manager Brandon Rogers: http://pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BREAKINGNEWSrogerscomplaint5.9.23.html.]

EEOC Complaint

Landers filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in October of 2021. The county was given notice of the EEOC charge, and the county then participated in the administrative proceedings and investigation.

Pike County has been represented by counsel throughout this matter.

The EEOC complaint was then forwarded to the Department of Justice which issued a Notice of Right to Sue which Landers received through her counsel on January 31, 2023.


Landers is suing the county for $300,000 plus attorney’s fees and cost of litigation.

According to the lawsuit, this would represent back pay including fringe benefits, front pay, injunctive relief, and compensatory and punitive damages if her case is proven in a jury trial.

The county has 60 days from May 1, 2023 to reply to this claims in this lawsuit.

Thank you to First Bank of Pike for sponsoring Pike County Times’ Breaking News Alerts! First Bank of Pike has been serving customers in Pike County and the surrounding area since 1901 and offers Personal and Business banking with a personal touch. Services include checking, savings, money market, certificates of deposit, and IRA’s. Mobile Banking and Bill Payment services are also available! Click here for more. Please let First Bank of Pike know that you appreciate their sponsorship of Breaking News Alerts on Pike County's only FREE online newspaper!


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