DOROTHY A. ABBAS, Complainant,




CITY OF HAMPTON, Respondent.




Jurisdictional and Procedural Facts:


1. On August 18, 1987, Complainant Dorothy Abbas filed her initial complaint number 16590 charging Respondents city clerk Ken Herwig, mayor Howard Werner, and city councilmen Donald Marquard, Donald Springer, Denny Edwards, Norman Cole and John W. Davies with sex discrimination in employment. The City of Hampton was added as a Respondent by amendment on November 5, 1987. After investigation, a finding of no probable cause was made on October 10, 1989. An application by Complainant Abbas for reopening was denied on November 22, 1989. (Request for Admissions).

2. On November 15, 1988, Complainant Dorothy Abbas filed a second complaint, complaint number 18395, which alleged that she was retaliated against because she had filed her prior complaint. (Request for Admissions). The Respondents to that complaint were the City of Hampton, Kenneth Herwig (City Clerk), the Mayor and City Council of Hampton, Iowa. The date of the most recent alleged discrimination set forth in the complaint is October 14, 1988. (Notice of Hearing). Official notice is taken that November 15, 1988 is thirty-two days after October 14, 1988. Fairness to the parties does not require that they be given an opportunity to contest this fact.

3. The retaliation complaint was investigated. After probable cause was found, conciliation was attempted, and failed. (Request for Admissions). Notice of Hearing was issued on February 22, 1991. (Notice of Hearing). On March 4, 1991, Complainant Abbas and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission filed a partial voluntary dismissal with respect to Respondents Kenneth Herwig, the Mayor and City Council of Hampton, Iowa. The case was not dismissed against the City of Hampton. The dismissal was only effective "upon the understanding that the Respondent City of Hampton will forego any argument that the City of Hampton is not legally responsible for the actions of the entities and/or persons dismissed." (Partial Voluntary Dismissal). The hearing was held on July 15-16, 1991.


Background of Complainant Abbas:

4. Complainant Dorothy Abbas began her employment with the Respondent City of Hampton on January 6, 1975. (CP. EX. # 1; Tr. at 10). She was hired by Ken Herwig, City Clerk, and worked in his office doing bookkeeping, receptionist and secretarial work. (Tr. at 10). Her initial job title was secretary. (Tr. at 11). In 1979, Dorothy Abbas was given the unofficial title of Deputy Clerk by Kenneth Herwig. In 1987, she was temporarily appointed as Deputy City Clerk by the City Council. (CP. EX. # 1; Tr. at 11, 12, 189-90). In 1984, while City Clerk Ken Herwig was absent due to an illness, Abbas' duties and responsibilities were expanded. She would attend council meetings and keep their records. She paid warrants and signed checks. Her duties did not return to their prior status when Ken Herwig returned from his absence. Her duties of attending council meetings and taking minutes ended in April of 1985. (Tr. at 11-12). Her duties as a full time employee continued to include such functions as paying invoices, bookkeeping, entering receipts, banking, typing minutes and letters, and performing general secretarial and receptionist work. (Tr. at 188).

5. On May 29, 1987, Complainant Abbas wrote a letter to Ken Herwig requesting that he ask the city council to officially recognize her title of "Deputy Clerk" and to compensate her for this position in accordance with "the guidelines of the 1987 Iowa Local Government Salary and Benefit Survey." (CP. EX. # 1; Tr. at 12-13). After being informed by Ken Herwig that the city council did not give her request any consideration, Ms. Abbas filed her original discrimination complaint. (Tr. at 15-16). That complaint alleged that the City's failure to either recognize her title in the 1987-88 Salary Resolution or to compensate her accordingly constituted sex discrimination. (CP. EX. # 2; Admissions).

6. It should be noted that City Clerk Kenneth Herwig had been a friend of the complainant for many years at the time she filed her first complaint. (Tr. at 10, 185, 289). Complainant Abbas had done bookkeeping for Kenneth Herwig as part of a high school program. (Tr. at 9, 185) From approximately 1953, Abbas had worked part-time on and off for a accounting service operated by Mr. Herwig and his former wife. (Tr. at 10, 185-86). She was hired by Ken Herwig into the city clerk's office in 1975 as he felt she was a good employee based on his experience with her in private business. (Tr. at 186).

Background of the City of Hampton:

7. There are three departments in the City of Hampton: the police department, public works, and city hall. The chief of police and the public works director were equal in authority to the city clerk until the later part of 1990. (Tr. at 207-08, 352-54). The office of City Clerk for the City of Hampton was filled by Ken Herwig from July 1, 1970 to December 31, 1990. (Tr. at 184-85). Mr. Herwig was the chief financial and administrative officer of the City of Hampton responsible to the city council. He was supervised by the mayor and city council. He attended council meetings, kept and wrote minutes, and made certain that all notices and legal aspects of the city's functions were either published or documented. He also administered financial reports, kept the books in order, reconciled bank accounts, and made out monthly reports. He dealt with the public and answered questions and resolved problems they had concerning city functions. He was also the city's chief building permit and zoning official. (Tr. at 189, 253).

8. After the death of his first wife, Ken Herwig married Rozann. The three people working in the clerk's office at all times pertinent to this complaint were Ken Herwig, Rozann Herwig, and Dorothy Abbas. (Tr. at 11, 186, 188-90). Rozann Herwig's duties as secretary included utility billing, changes on water accounts, payroll, paying bonds and coupons for the city when due, typing, tax reports and general office work. (Tr. at 189).


Findings of fact continued