Rockland City Hall Credit: Stephen Betts

ROCKLAND, Maine ― The city has paid a former employee $168,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged the employee was wrongfully terminated because of a medical condition.

The Courier-Gazette reports that the settlement agreement was reached to avoid the expensive and time-consuming process of continuing the matter in court. The lawsuit, filed by former city assessor Doreen French, was dismissed on Friday.

The city is only paying $10,000 of the settlement agreement, while the rest is being paid through the city’s insurance company, according to the newspaper.

French, who was fired in 2016, filed a lawsuit in December of 2018 alleging that the city discriminated against her because of a medical condition. In her lawsuit, French sought back pay, lost employment benefits and compensatory damages.

French was hired to serve as the city’s assessor in February 2016. In November of that year, she suffered a crash-related concussion that compromised her ability to work, according to her lawsuit.

Following the crash, French told city administrators that she would need about six weeks of leave to recover. She initially was granted 12 weeks of leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.

A December 2016 letter from her doctor stated that the estimated time of leave would be about six months, according to the lawsuit.

The city’s human resources officer told French that she was wrongfully granted the 12 weeks of medical leave because she had worked for the city for less than a year and did not qualify for the benefits. At a Dec. 20, 2016, meeting with Rockland’s interim city manager, French was told that her employment would be terminated.