An eight-person federal court jury in Denver today found that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office did not violate federal employment laws when it terminated the employment of former Sheriff’s Sergeant John Huntz.
Huntz had argued through his lawyers that he was transferred from a prestigious training officer assignment to night shifts in the jail as retaliation because his wife, Tiffany Huntz, who worked in the dispatch center, had reported sexual harassment by a Commander.
Last September, Senior Circuit Judge David Ebel dismissed the Tiffany Huntz’ sexual discrimination claim against the Sheriff’s Office but the John Huntz complaint continued to trial. The couple is now divorced.
John Huntz went out on leave in January 2015 coinciding with his reassignment to the jail. He continued on leave with two different medical issues for nearly eight months. His employment was terminated in August when he did not return to work, failed to respond to multiple requests to undergo “fitness for duty examinations” and did not submit any requests to be considered for “light duty.”
“We appreciate the jury’s time and consideration in this case we appreciate the verdict” said Assistant County Attorney Kenneth Hodges who was joined by Assistant County Attorney Peter Lichtman in representing El Paso County during the week-long federal court trial in Denver.
“From the outset we believed that this was a frivolous lawsuit,” said First Assistant County Attorney Diana May. “The Board of County Commissioners directed the County Attorney’s Office to aggressively defend the County against this frivolous employment claim over the past two years and at the direction of the Commissioners we will continue to aggressively defend the County against all frivolous claims.”