Former employee says she was terminated from tax collector’s office partly because is Jewish
By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
A former employee of the Alcorn County Tax Collector’s office has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the county.
Jennifer Lynn Edwards claims that she was terminated from her position in the tax collector’s office partly because she is Jewish.
Her termination was “motivated, at least in part, by her being of the Jewish race and religion,” the lawsuit says.
Alcorn County Tax Collector Larry Ross learned that Edwards was Jewish in late 2017, according to the lawsuit, which was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen.
“Ross began a campaign of harassing Edwards after he learned that she was Jewish,” the lawsuit charges. “Ross made frequent disparaging comments about Edwards being Jewish.”
The lawsuit alleges that Edwards was discriminated against.
Ross declined comment to Corinth Today and referred questions to the attorney representing Alcorn County in the matter, Arnold Luciano of Cleveland, Miss. Luciano told Corinth Today that he normally does not discuss ongoing litigation.
During the Christmas season of 2017, Ross stated Edwards did not use Christmas decorations such as those placed near the county office, the lawsuit says.
“Ross told Edwards that she ‘punished’ her children by making them celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas,” it adds.
Ross also made comments that Edwards’ children were left out of common Christian activities at their Mississippi public school because she is Jewish, the lawsuit says.
Ross joked that Edwards could only eat certain foods because she is Jewish, according to the lawsuit. Ross said Edwards believed she was one of the chosen people but that she was incorrect and needed to read the Bible, the suit states.
“Ross harassed Edwards because she was Jewish . . .,” the lawsuit asserts.
Edwards was a good employee who performed her job duties, says the lawsuit. She was qualified for her position and was treated “less favorably than non-Jewish people,” it adds.
She suffered a “hostile work environment because of her Jewish race,” the lawsuit says. She says she has suffered lost wages, mental anxiety and emotional distress.
The lawsuit also says Edwards has filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She has received a right to sue letter from the U.S. Department of Justice as well, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.