City of Columbia Earns Partial Win in Former Employee Lawsuit | KBIA

City of Columbia Earns Partial Win in Former Employee Lawsuit

Sep 29, 2015

Zim Schwartze filed suit against the City of Columbia, City Manager Michael Matthes and Police Chief Thomas Burton. Schwartze is a former police captain and former Director of the Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management. 

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr

U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey shot down Schwartze’s claims of prima facie tort and violation of a liberty interest, but will allow a trial on the issues of breach of contract and breach of due process. Judge Laughrey handed down the decision in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on Sept. 22.

Court documents cite May 9, 2012 as the day that Schwartze alleges that Matthes presented her with two options: quit her job as Emergency Communications and Management Administrator or lose her job. She claims that Matthes gave her less than one hour to decide. Schwartze did not quit. So he laid Schwartze off, locking her out of her office and computer.

On June 14, 2012, the City denied Schwartze’s request for a post-termination hearing before the Personnel Advisory Board. The court ruled that the city may have provided Schwartze with insufficient process.