Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando elections office worker's lawsuit says firing followed EEOC complaint

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BROOKSVILLE — A staffer in the Hernando County Supervisor of Elections Office who was fired in October for insubordination has filed a federal lawsuit against his former employer, seeking damages in connection with alleged incidents of racial discrimination and harassment by former county Commissioner Jeff Stabins.

Tekova Castillo filed the suit last week in U.S. District Court, naming the Supervisor of Elections Office as the sole defendant and alleging that he was unfairly terminated not long after he filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The suit asks for an undisclosed amount in back wages, overtime pay and benefits, plus additional damages.

An elections specialist who earned $18,096 a year, Castillo worked six years in the elections office on Forest Oaks Boulevard in Spring Hill. In May, Castillo, who is black, alleged in a memo to Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams that beginning in February, Stabins visited the office frequently, and on several occasions harassed him and made derogatory remarks, and on several occasions referred to him as a "monkey." Stabins, he said, also told him he would be out of a job once Republican Shirley Anderson won the November election.

According to the compliant, Stabins came into the elections office May 25 and asked Castillo what he thought about the possibility of becoming a "ditch digging n-----."

Reached Wednesday at his home in New York, Stabins adamantly denied Castillo's accusations and called him an "absolute, pathological liar."

Stabins, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, described his conversations with the plaintiff as friendly, and said that inquiries by the county Human Resources Department and the EEOC had vindicated him of any wrongdoing.

Castillo also alleges that despite the fact that he made a formal complaint to the county's Human Resources Department and to Williams, an "official investigation was never done".

Williams could not be contacted Wednesday, but stressed to a newspaper reporter in October that Castillo's termination was related to his performance and not linked in any way to Stabins.

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

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