SPOKANE, Wash. – The City of Spokane reached a settlement with a former parks and recreation employee who claimed her rights were violated when she took time off for surgery only to return and find her job filled by someone else.
Nancy Goodspeed will be given a $165,000 settlement from the city. She originally requested $1 million.
In a statement from city officials they said, “The City of Spokane and Nancy Goodspeed reached an agreement to resolve the lawsuit brought by Ms. Goodspeed. The settlement, which must still be approved by the City Council, is in the best interest of both Nancy Goodspeed and the citizens we serve, and saves the expense of a lengthy court process. While we understand that the need to resolve our differences in the courts has disappointed many citizens, the settlement allows all involved to move forward. The City thanks Nancy for her 9 years of service to the City and community. The City wishes her the best. Neither party will have any further comment on the matter.”
Goodspeed, the former community affairs coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, claimed in the suit that the City violated the Family Medical Leave Act, various age discrimination laws, as well as other disability laws. She said in the lawsuit that while she was out on medical leave for surgery to treat her Parkinson’s disease, the city gave her job to Monique Cotton.
Cotton was moved from the Spokane Police Department to Parks and Recreation in a communications position after making claims of sexual harassment against former police chief Frank Straub, previous records requests show. Straub later resigned amid complaints from other staffers.
Goodspeed’s lawsuit claimed Mayor David Condon publicly disclosed private health information about her when he made statements to the press and others about her health as he announced Cotton’s move.
The lawsuit claimed Goodspeed was illegally asked to release her medical records, not allowed to return to full time status, and upon her return to work following surgery, had her job reduced to what she considered to be “an assistant with limited duties and responsibilities.” Goodspeed said she was later discharged from her new role as a result of refusing to submit to “wrongful and invasive” medical exams.
Cotton resigned from the City of Spokane in February 2016. In January, 2016 Goodspeed filed a $1.5 million tort claim against the city and announced her plan to sue. Roberts said the City offered to settle with Goodspeed for $45,000, but that wasn’t enough to make up what she has been through.