Louisiana Record

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Prolonged employment dispute in Baton Rouge Public Works Department ends


By Carrie Salls | Oct 1, 2018

1280px baton rouge louisiana waterfront aerial view
The petitioner was fired from the Baton Rouge Public Works Department in 1999. | U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library

BATON ROUGE –– An appeals ended a long-running employment dispute on Sept. 21 between a former public works employee and the city of Baton Rouge.

The First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's 19th Judicial District Court's dismissal of Anthony Douglas' petition to annul a judgment. 

This was Douglas' sixth appeal. 

The case stems from the city firing Douglas in 1999, though after two appeals he returned to work. During a physical, Douglas failed a drug screening, according to court documents. The city fired Douglas again, but he challenged the termination. The two parties eventually agreed to a settlement in which Douglas retired in exchange for back wages. 

According to the ruling, Douglas took the back pay, but refused to retire. He later objected to the settlement, because he accepted it "under duress."

After several court orders and appeals, Douglas filed a new request to void the original settlement and reinstate him with the public works department. 

Douglas argued the appeals court did not have jurisdiction over the city firing him and the settlement. 

In the 10-page opinion, Judge Mitch Theriot did not find Douglas' arguments compelling. 

"Accordingly, this court has already found there to be no merit in Mr. Douglas' allegations that the city/parish had made fraudulent statements regarding Mr. Douglas' right to notice and an opportunity to be heard," Theriot wrote. "As such, we refuse to relitigate this issue."

Judges John Michael Guidry and Allison H. Penzato concurred.

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