A senior research analyst fired last year from his job at the Multnomah County Sheriff's office filed suit yesterday claiming he was terminated after he refused efforts to force him into early retirement.
Markley Drake, 61, began working as an analyst for the office in 2005, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Then in 2011 the office hired a new director of planning and research, Shea Marshman, who began asking Drake about his retirement plans.
The sheriff's office declined to comment citing pending litigation.
For the next two years, Marshman allegedly made "disparaging and demeaning comments" about Drake's age and scrutinizing his work at a level well above that of his younger counterparts. In December 2012, Marshman asked Drake if he had discussed his retirement plans with his wife, according to the complaint, and said she was concerned Drake wasn't keeping pace with the two (younger) analysts.
The next month Drake's position was eliminated and he was forced to reapply for a new - strikingly similar - job. Drake got the job, but Marshman continued to encourage him to retire, according to the complaint. She said he seemed tired, appeared to have trouble remembering things and she was skeptical he could learn the computer skills necessary to keep up.
"Marshman told me that 'at one time I may have had the skills but that now I was out of touch with the new way of doing things,'" Drake wrote in a complaint filed last year with the Bureau of Labor and Industries. "I replied that I was up on new technology and asked for specifics of what I was going wrong. Marshman told me I was of retirement age and needed to retire."
BOLI dismissed the complaint in March citing a lack of substantial evidence. From a review of BOLI's files it appeared BOLI was not able to interview Marshman, said Drake's attorney, Matthew C. Ellis.
After a series of meetings during which Marshman allegedly recommended Drake retire, she said in June she didn't believe he was capable of doing his job and needed to look for less demanding work. Then in July he was given the option: get fired or take your vacation and then leave.
Drake is seeking $900,000 in damages due to lost wages, a hostile work environment and age discrimination.