DENVER – A former deputy city clerk of Salida is suing for the city, claiming her superiors discriminated against her and damaged her reputation.
Lynda Herrera Travis’s eight-page lawsuit mentions a period of turmoil in 2018 involving high-ranking city officials and the city council.
She filed her lawsuit Dec. 10 in Chaffee County District Court and the city removed it on Dec. 30 to the U.S. District Court in Denver.
The lawsuit alleges she was the victim of a hostile work environment for months in 2018. She claims she was subjected to discrimination due to her being Hispanic and to being a female, and was retaliated against for complaining about it.
The lawsuit contends the discrimination took the form of harassment, derogatory comments and mistreatment by former interim city administrator Theresa Casey and current administrator Drew Nelson.
On Dec. 31, in a court filing, the city denied her claims.
It asserts that any actions concerning Travis’ employment “were based on legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons.”
The city asks the judge assigned to the case to dismiss it or to submit the lawsuit to a jury trial.
Concerns about Nelson were made public after letters from former Finance Director Jodi McClurkin, former City Clerk, former Treasurer and current City Councilwoman Alisa Pappenfort and Travis were distributed in 2018 around Salida for the council’s attention.
Pappenfort and Travis later retracted their letters, according to a report by Investigations Law Group. That firm was retained by the city’s attorneys to conduct an investigation.
Travis contends her “professional career and reputation continue to be adversely impacted” by the city government.
The city’s filing denying her claims states she submitted her resignation Dec. 17, 2018, effective Jan. 3, 2019.
Travis is asking for a jury to award her an unspecified amount of money from the city for what she contends occurred, reinstatement to her job, plus money, known as punitive damages, to punish the city government.
Both sides in the case are represented by Denver law firms.