Township Agrees To Pay FTPD LT. $300K To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

FTPD Lt. Kirsten Durham, foreground, settled her discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the township and police department for a bulk $300,000 payment and other considerations. (File photo.)

The township has agreed to pay $300,000 to a Franklin Township Police lieutenant and keep her on paid administrative leave until mid-2021 to settle a discrimination and harassment lawsuit the lieutenant filed in 2018.

The officer, Lt. Kristen Durham, has been on administrative leave since early 2018, after what she claimed was a “bogus” internal affairs complaint was filed against her. Durham filed the suit against the township and the FTPD in May of 2018.

Under the terms of the settlement, which the township signed off on on August 1, Durham will be paid a lump sum of $300,000, and remain on paid administrative leave until June 1, 2021, or the month after she achieves 25 years on the FTPD.

If Durham does not reach 25 years of service by June 1, 2021, she will have to use her accrued personal, sick and vacation time, up to 30 days, to reach that milestone, according to the settlement.

Durham will retire once the 25-year mark has been reached, according to the settlement.

Durham earned a total of $180,656.44 in 2018, according to FTPD records. Her regular earnings were $164,084.44, and she earned $4,650.83 in overtime and $11,921.39 in “other earnings,” according to the FTPD records.

The township admitted to none of Durham’s allegations in her lawsuit, the settlement states. Rather, after a “cost-benefit analysis,” the township “determined that it was appropriate to resolve this matter at this stage of the Litigation based upon purely financial considerations.”

In her 35-page filing, Durham alleged a pattern of discrimination against her by former supervisors of the FTPD, including former Chief Lawrence Roberts and former Chief Richard Grammar.

Durham also claimed there was a pattern of racial discrimination in the FTPD, resulting in no African American officers rising above the grade of Sergeant while they were bypassed by White officers with less experience. She claimed that she was retaliated against when she complained about the alleged discrimination.

Also mentioned in the suit were Township Manager Robert Vornlocker, FTPD Lt. Mark Reiner and FTPD Det. Ken Daly.

Read the Durham complaint and settlement here.

As part of the settlement, while she is on administrative leave Durham is eligible for health benefits, with the usual contribution, but she will not be required to contribute to her health benefits upon her retirement.

The settlement also mandates that Durham be restored 128 hours of sick time and 384 hours of vacation time to her accumulated time bank.

Upon her retirement, “the Township of Franklin will provide Durham with a retirement badge and identification card and will support any application by Durham to carry a firearm in retirement,” according to the settlement.

The township will also provide Durham with a “neutral” job reference, according to the settlement.

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