Former employee files lawsuit against St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—A former detective is suing the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit for alleged wrongful termination, according to a court filing dated December 4.

On Wednesday, a former SVU employee filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination and violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

The plaintiff is suing St. Joseph County Prosecutor Kenneth P. Cotter and the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit for back pay, reinstatement of employment, and monetary damages.

According to court documents, the former employee says that she was fired as a detective from the Special Victims Unit in January of 2019, a position she had held since 2016.

The former employee became pregnant in May of 2018 and was placed on light duty conditions per a doctor’s note, court documents said.

While on light duty, the former employee said that Commander Kelly Todd “selectively assigned investigatory cases to her in a frequent and disparate manner, required her to be available to work during non-work hours in a disparate manner, and repeated comments to her that she would not be able to cope with SVU cases once she had a newborn baby,” court documents stated.

According to court documents, shortly after the employee went on medical leave following the birth of her child, she was notified that she was terminated from SVU.

The plaintiff said she was returned to her role as a South Bend Police officer following her termination from SVU.

Peter Agostino, an attorney for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office, released the following statement about the lawsuit.

"Our plan is to vigorously defend this claim. We believe the evidence will show there was no unlawful discrimination against the former employee and her return to her normal assignments as a South Bend Police officer was completely proper and cannot serve as the basis for a claim."

Attorneys listed on the lawsuit who are representing the former employee have not yet returned a request for comment.

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