Grievance board to hear former employee's complaints on discrimination

A July investigation into allegations of criminal actions by a former county employee resulted in nolle prossed charges in Faulkner County Circuit Court, and now the employee wants the chance to clear her name following her termination from the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.

Former detention officer Tabitha Janiece Henderson will appear before a grievance committee a second time after her original hearing set for Wednesday was put off for two days so that counsel for the sheriff’s office has a chance to review documentation Henderson has submitted as evidence.

Henderson was arrested in July on a warrant for harassing communication charges stemming from an incident involving voicemails she allegedly left on her ex-husband’s wife’s phone, resulting in the woman’s pursuit if a warrant on the basis of harassment.

When Henderson learned of the warrant on Jul. 2, she turned herself in to deputies and was booked and released from the jail.

Henderson was already scheduled for vacation the week of her arrest and was not placed on administrative leave, but was later terminated from her position. According to Henderson, her last paycheck was received Aug. 30.

Henderson said Wednesday prosecutors dropped the charges against her and she now wants the chance to clear her name. Henderson has also cited arbitrary claims of discrimination and discrimination due to disability as grounds for the hearing.

“I feel like I was wrongfully terminated and accused of a crime for which I have been found not guilty,” Henderson said Wednesday.

Henderson has further claimed she was never given the chance to resign before being terminated, an opportunity, she said, other former employees were granted.

When Henderson presented stacks of paperwork backing her claims for submission as evidence, attorney Geoff Thompson asked for a continuance for the opportunity to review the materials.

Henderson objected, saying that she came to court prepared and was ready to put the incident behind her.

David Hogue, acting county attorney, granted the continuance in the interest of a “fair and impartial hearing.”

The committee, comprised of three justices of the peace, two laymembers and County Judge Allen Dodson, will reconvene 3 p.m. Friday in courtroom B at the Faulkner County Courthouse.

(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 501-505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net.)

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