Multnomah Co. sheriff settles with chief deputy claiming 'hostil - KPTV - FOX 12

Multnomah Co. sheriff settles with chief deputy claiming 'hostile work environment'

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Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton (FOX 12 file image) Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton (FOX 12 file image)
Multnomah County Chief Deputy Linda Yankee (Photo courtesy Linda Yankee) Multnomah County Chief Deputy Linda Yankee (Photo courtesy Linda Yankee)

Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton has reached a settlement with a chief deputy who filed a tort claim alleging inappropriate behavior that led to a "hostile work environment" by the sheriff.

Chief Deputy Linda Yankee filed the tort claim earlier this month.

She claimed Staton would frequently make sexual, sexist, profane and derogatory comments about women in front of her, as well as offensive remarks about other male county workers.  

The tort claim also alleges Yankee was demoted last November based in part on her gender.

In a settlement agreement released Thursday, Staton "agreed to resolve Yankee's employment and any issues arising out of her employment while disagreeing about the validity of the notice of tort claim."

As part of the agreement, Yankee agrees to retire from the county by June 1, 2017. She will retire with the rank of chief deputy and will be awarded the Distinguished Service Award.

Yankee will be placed on paid administrative leave until the time of her retirement while receiving a pay increase from her current salary of $146,019 to $150,431.

Yankee will also receive the full cost of living increase available to county employees until her retirement, as well as the same percentage of merit increase as other members of the sheriff's office command staff or a minimum of two percent, whichever is higher.

Both sides agreed to mutually release one another from all claims, while any evidence related to discrimination, harassment or retaliation regarding Yankee prior to the settlement will not be admissible in any potential subsequent lawsuit or administrative hearing.  

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said Thursday that the settlement, "underscores my questions and concerns about the work environment in the Sheriff’s office."

Kafoury said she reached out personally to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to investigate because, "The people of Multnomah County deserve clarity that only the Oregon Department of Justice can provide.”

In a statement released Thursday, Staton said he couldn't speculate what additional questions Kafoury might have, but added he advised the attorney general that he would like to have an investigation launched into two additional issues relating to the conduct of the office, one of which was already investigated.

Staton's statement said he looked forward to addressing those issues more comprehensively after the attorney general's office completes its investigations.

Staton also addressed working to resolve the tort claim. 

"It has been my goal to continue the normal business of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office uninterrupted as this process unfolded. I am proud the Sheriff's Office staff have continued to strive forward and provide exemplary service to the residents of Multnomah County." -Sheriff Dan Staton. 

Yankee's attorney Sean Riddell also issued a statement regarding the settlement Thursday.

"My client and I appreciate the hard work, candor and professionalism of the Multnomah County Attorney’s Office throughout this process. Ms. Yankee says she will miss working with the hardworking men and women of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office." -Attorney Sean Riddell. 

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