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Ex-billing employees sue Killeen

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Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 12:00 pm

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

Two former city employees in Killeen's Emergency Medical Services billing department are suing the city, claiming they experienced racial discrimination.

Former employees Sabrina Ramirez and Anette Warden both are seeking damages for an environment they say ultimately led them to resign from their positions, according to a petition filed in the 169th District Court in Belton.

While working in the billing department, Warden and Ramirez claim they became aware the city was double billing health care providers for services performed by Killeen EMS.

Warden came under scrutiny after she began making city officials aware of the double billing. She contacted at least one council member regarding the practice.

She also has sought several documents regarding a 2008 sexual harassment settlement paid on behalf of former Killeen City Manager Connie Green. The city and former Finance Director Rana Lacer agreed to a $110,000 payout for allegations that Green harassed Lacer in 2006.

Ramirez and Warden both contend that as the only two white employees in the EMS billing department, their supervisor, Eunice Lipscomb, often spoke to them inappropriately, issued meritless reprimands and assigned the two more work than others in similar positions.

Warden worked for the city from September 2006 to December 2010. Ramirez worked for the billing department from March to November 2010.

After both resigned from their positions, they were replaced with African Americans, the petition states.

City Attorney Kathy Davis offered no comment on the lawsuit. It is the city's policy to not make any statements about ongoing litigation, Davis said.

Warden and Ramirez both made complaints to their supervisor, which Assistant Director of Finance Marty Gillespie attempted to address. However, the petition states Gillespie was unsuccessful.

Ramirez and Warden claim they were retaliated against after making complaints against Lipscomb. They allege Lipscomb would refer to them as the "Siamese twins," the petition states.

Warden filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Civil Rights Division, according to a letter to the attorney general from Davis.

They are seeking an unspecified amount of damages for substantial loss of income and emotional harm.

No hearings have been set for the civil suit.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553.

Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

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