Sheriff Darrell Dix subject of EEOC complaint


Jessica Kelley, the former deputy of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office who has a pending federal law suit against former sheriff Wendell Beam, David Gibson, the former captain of the SCSO Uniform Patrol Division who has been indicted on 11 charges including multiple felonies, and Spalding County, has now filed a formal complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against current Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix.

Dix terminated Kelley after taking office in January.

In her complaint against Dix, Kelley alleges the basis for her discrimination is based on her sex and retaliation.

Citing her initial Sept. 1, 2016, complaint, Kelley stated, “I have served as a deputy with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office since March 18, 2014. Capt. David Gibson supervised me until his forced resignation in June 2015. From the day I picked up my uniform until days before his departure, he uttered sexually lewd comments to me on a daily basis.”

Kelley also cited her previous complaint about Gibson’s alleged retaliation, stating, “I reported Gibson’s behavior to Sheriff Wendell Beam. At that time, the Sheriff insisted I provide a written statement. Although the sexual harassment lessened in frequency after I complained to Sheriff Beam, Gibson began to retaliate against me for complaining by yelling at me, picking apart my work, threatening my employment and preventing my advancement within the office.

Her most recent complaint, Kelley alleges discriminatory acts and retaliation continue under Dix.

“I believe I have been discriminated on the basis of my gender and in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination in violation of Title VII. Shortly after Darrell Dix was elected sheriff of Spalding County in November 2016, he targeted me for termination because I reported Gibson. Dix wanted his administration to be free of any employees who had been involved in the Gibson debacle. I believe I have been further retaliated against for filing my charge of discrimination against Spalding County, in violation of Title VII.”

Mary Katz, the attorney representing both Beam and now Dix, responded to the EEOC. Her letter disputes Kelley’s allegations, stating Dix’ actions were taken independent of Kelley’s prior complaints, and that they were based on an internal investigation that disclosed “unacceptable and terminable behavior on the part of Ms. Kelley and another deputy, Catherine Lewis. Both deputies were terminated by Sheriff Dix after hearings.”

Katz reported the internal investigation was conducted under Beam’s tenure, and that upon Dix taking office, he reviewed the findings, was concerned with the unprofessional behavior exhibited by Kelly and Lewis and terminated both for what he viewed as intolerable behavior.

Katz then cited, “One, Deputy Lewis was also terminated. She has not filed any claims of discrimination with the EEOC or otherwise; two, none of the other charging parties who have pending cases have claimed retaliation. Karen Law, Misti Piper and Melanie Bowen are still employed by Sheriff Dix. Kimberly Barnett resigned in January 2016 to accept a position with another law enforcement agency; and three, Spalding County was not Deputy Kelley’s employer. She was an employee of a constitution, elected official – Sheriff Darrell Dix. The decision to terminate her employment was his alone.”

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