INDIANAPOLIS - A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed in Indianapolis by five workers who claim they were fired from their government jobs as part of a cover-up of crimes on the job.
The employees said they worked for the Lebanon Public Library in Boone County when they took information to the library board of directors regarding a co-worker, who is the son of Library Director Kay Martin.
In their lawsuit, Jocelyn Lewis and her four former colleagues claim they uncovered information that Martin's son had been falsifying his time cards in order to be paid for hours he never actually worked.
The workers claim they were fired shortly thereafter in March 2012, despite positive job performance reviews in the past.
Their Indianapolis attorney John Mercer wrote in the lawsuit, "Based upon the plaintiffs' exemplary job performance, plaintiffs' (sic) would not have lost their jobs had they not publicly exercised their First Amendment rights to expose improper operations of a governmental agency and/or question the integrity of government officials."
Mercer did not respond to an email from Call 6 Investigators.
His lawsuit claims that no reason was originally given for the termination of the five workers, and he claimed that later explanations fell short.
"The reasons provided by Director Kay Martin and the Lebanon Public Library for the terminations are a mere pre-text offered to cover up the violations of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to free speech," the attorney wrote in the lawsuit.
When approached by the Call 6 Investigators, Martin declined to answer any questions and responded, "I can't tell you anything."
When asked if she wanted to make any statement about how she handles allegations of wrongdoing by her staff, she declined.
She did say that her son continues to work for her at the library. She said he joined the staff 20 years ago before she was the library's director.
The five workers wrote in their lawsuit that they filed grievances over their firings, but the library board turned them down. Their lawsuit asks for $600,000 in damages, while also asking a federal judge to order them reinstated to their jobs.