By Chase Kamp
From the Southeast Valley Ledger
A former staffer of Chad Roche, the Pinal County Clerk of the Court, has filed a civil lawsuit charging Roche with sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Roche has publicly denied all charges.
According to complaint documents, former Deputy Clerk Linda Martinez claims Roche made several unwanted romantic advancements toward her, diminished her authority after he was rebuffed and then wrongfully terminated her in May 2011 after she filed a sexual harassment claim with the County human resources department.
The County has been named in the suit, which was filed on Jan. 3, 2013.
“I believe all of these claims will be proven false,” Roche told the Ledger.
Martinez is seeking an undisclosed sum for charges of creating a hostile work environment, quid pro quo sexual harassment, retaliation for filing a complaint and wrongful termination.
Martinez assisted with Roche’s campaign in 2010, and the complaint claims Roche frequently shared personal information with her in conversation.
She was offered the Deputy Clerk position shortly after he took office in Jan. 2011. On two separate incidents, the complaint alleges, the two were driving together to training sessions when Roche allegedly invited Martinez for a drink, which she declined both times.
After these incidents, Martinez claims Roche “began neglecting to invite [her] to business and social functions, excluded [her] from meetings, and diminished [her] authority.”
Martinez decided to submit a sexual harassment complaint to County human resources after Roche allegedly made another romantic advance toward her in his office which involved him rubbing her arm.
The claim was submitted May 17. The complaint alleges County human resources received a silent whistleblower complaint against Martinez and she was terminated on May 25.
According to the complaint, Martinez received her Notice of Right to Sue from
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Oct. 12.
Roche claimed that a complaint filed by Martinez with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission was rejected. This could not be verified by press time as EOEC complaints are not made publicly available.