City of Pocola responds to EEOC claim by police chief

The City of Pocola filed a formalanswer in response to a lawsuit filed byChief of Police Dale Fout, 52, with theEqual Employment OpportunityCommission that claims he has been thesubject of discrimination by GaylonFreeman, a member of the Board ofTrustees.According to Fout, he was harassedbecause of his age and his disability.Freeman allegedly obtained and distributedinformation throughout Pocola concerningFout’s ailment to reflect negativelyon his performance of his duties.The complaint states that Freeman hastold local residents of Pocola that heintended to fire Fout and hire a youngerChief of Police. When Fout was madeaware of the statements allegedly madeby Freeman he made a complaint againstFreeman. According to Fout this instigatedFreeman to further harass cityemployees that worked with the Chief ofPolice telling them they may not receivetheir pay and the fault was Fout’s.Fout further claimed that Freemansent a threatening letter to a dispatcheremployed at the Police Department givinginstructions in regard to part-timedispatching and if she failed to do so shewould lose her job. Freeman allegedlywarned that if Fout tried to keep her fromgetting fired if she didn’t do as he said,then he would fire Fout also. Accordingto the EEOC documents filed in the complaint,Fout's ground for discriminationfall under age, disability and retaliation.Attorney Betty Outhier Williams, whois representing the city in the complaint,filed the response on behalf of the Townof Pocola on October 7. The responseclaims that the city admits that Fout isthe Chief of Police in Pocola and worksas a head patrol officer as well as theadministrative officer for the department.According to the response, the Towndenies all remaining statements in thecomplaint made by Fout stating he hasnot been disciplined, demoted or removedand remains in the same position forwhich he was hired. The Town alsodenies any knowledge of Fout having anailment or disability.Williams also noted that a copy ofFout's personnel file as maintained bythe Town of Pocola was submitted withthe response to the EEOC.