A former Hale County, AL administrator who claimed she was one of several employees “purged” from her place of work in 2013 for being white was been awarded $136,000 by a federal jury this Monday.
Tricia Galbreath was awarded the sum on claims over breach of contract, wrongful termination, and due process. However, Senior US District Court Judge Callie Granade dismissed her claim that she was fired on racial and age discrimination.
Galbreath filed a lawsuit against her employers at the Hale County Commission and county probate judge Arthur Crawford, who also serves as its chairman. Crawford, an African-American, was elected in November 2012 defeating his incumbent opponent in a write-in campaign. Per Alabama news site Al.com, Crawford won the Democratic primary but was later removed from the ballot by court order for his failure to comply with campaign disclosure laws.
In the period following his election to office, Crawford and the Commission “began a systemic purging of white employees,” the federal magistrate ruled in September 2015. “Each of these county employees was replaced by an African-American. Galbreath’s and the then-County Attorney’s replacements were also younger than them.”
Galbreath, along with the former probate clerk, and the then-county attorney all lost their jobs during the “purge,” which occurred during an executive session meeting in June 18, 2013. Judge Granade ruled Galbreath had not been given prior notice and was led to believe that the meeting was little more than a performance review with an “improvement plan.”
The reasons given for her firing included failure to show up to work and the use of foul language. The judge stated that none of these issues were ever brought up to her prior to the meeting, nor did anyone she worked with ever complain about her performance.
The court also ruled in favor of the former probate clerk, Ann Langford, who was awarded $110,230 by a jury in 2016.