Doreen French Credit: Courtesy Town of Hermon

A former Rockland employee is claiming that she was terminated from her post because she has a disability.

Doreen French, who served as the city’s assessor in 2016, filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission in January 2017. Last month, the commission issued French a “right to sue” letter, according to Human Rights Commission Executive Director Amy Sneirson.

French was hired by the city in February 2016 and was terminated on Dec. 20, 2016, according the complaint filed with the Human Rights Commission.

At the time of French’s departure, Rockland’s previous city manager, Audra Caler-Bell, said French stopped working for the city for personal reasons, according to the Courier Gazette.

In November 2016, French was allegedly involved in a car accident, which caused a mental or physical disability, according to the complaint. The complaint does not include specifics about French’s disability.

Due to the disability, French’s doctor removed her from work for a six-month “expected period of incapacity,” French wrote in her complaint. French said she requested, and was granted, a medical leave of absence.

On Dec. 20, 2016, French claims she told her employer that she expected to return to work part time in early January and full time by the end of January. At that point, the city terminated her employment, French states in the complaint.

A right to sue letter can be issued when a complaint has been pending with the Human Rights Commission for at least 180 days and the commission has not completed the investigation, according to Snerison.

“It really doesn’t mean anything,” Amy Freeman, an attorney representing Rockland said. Freeman declined to comment on specifics regarding French’s claim.

A message for French’s attorney, John Gause, was not returned Monday afternoon.

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