ABINGDON, Va. — Former Abingdon Town Manager Greg Kelly filed a lawsuit Monday against the town claiming there was a hostile work environment and that his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Mr. Kelly has been subjected to insults, invasions of privacy, disclosure of confidential information, and profane and obscene messages from Town leadership and has been publicly ridiculed and defamed on several occasions,” the complaint states.
Kelly served as town manager from Sept. 7, 2006, until his resignation on May 7, 2018, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.
The suit demands a trial by jury and names the town of Abingdon and Mayor Wayne Craig as defendants.
“I don’t think he has any case against me personally,” said Craig, 79, who served on the Town Council when Kelly was town manager but did not become mayor until July 1, 2018, after Kelly left his post.
“I haven’t spoken with him at all,” Craig said. “When he left, he indicated something like he and I should have a long, friendly conversation and that he would be in touch with me, and I haven’t heard from him.”
Kelly’s complaint states that he suffered from anxiety, high blood pressure and depression, which required daily medication, and those conditions were “exacerbated due to the often unprofessional and occasionally outrageous actions of several of Mr. Kelly’s supervisors, the Town Council of Abingdon and Mayor of Abingdon.”
Cathy Lowe was the mayor of Abingdon at the time of Kelly’s departure and when Kelly filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) concerning his treatment by the town.
“The town was represented by an attorney as soon as the first complaint was filed,” Lowe said on Monday.
“As the mayor, I’m not going to be able to talk about it,” Lowe added. “I’m still bound under my oath of office that I can’t discuss that case at all.”
Kelly’s suit claims that he requested accommodations for disabilities in January 2018, but there was no response. A copy of the 2018 letter from his Roanoke attorneys making that request was attached to the complaint.
“On or about May 7, 2018, due to the severe and pervasive hostile work environment targeting individuals with disabilities, Mr. Kelly had no alternative but to resign his employment,” the complaint states. “Mr. Kelly attempted to work in an untenable work environment. However because of the abusive nature of the work environment, Mr. Kelly suffered a constructive discharge.”
The suit claims Kelly “was continuously threatened with termination if he did not do as certain council members directed despite being bound by law and a strict code of local government ethics.”
The complaint also alleges discrimination under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, retaliation under the ADA, failure to accommodate Kelly’s requests, interference in violation of the ADA and breach of contract.
“I never observed what I would consider any discrimination. No,” Craig said. “He alleges something like we have discriminated against a person with a disability, and he claims that he has a disability from working for the town and that we discriminated against him in certain ways. That’s all I know.”