FARMINGTON — A staff investigator for a state human rights panel found that there was no disability discrimination involved when Franklin County commissioners fired a corrections officer from Jay in 2012.

Investigator Angela Tizon’s report signed by Maine Human Rights Commission Executive Director Amy Sneirson recommends the commission issue findings that “there are no reasonable grounds to believe that County of Franklin discriminated against Robert Shufelt on the basis of disability by terminating his employment.”

The panel will take up the matter at its June 9 meeting in Augusta.

Shufelt claimed he has a mental disability and that he believed he was fired because county officials perceived him to be disabled and did not know how to deal with his disability, according to the report.

He had been a corrections officer at the Franklin County Detention Center in Farmington from December 1988 to March 7, 2012.

On Feb. 11, 2012, Shufelt was involved in a physical altercation with an inmate. Two days later, Shufelt was suspended with pay while the Sheriff’s Department investigated the altercation, according to the report.


It was concluded that Shufelt “assaulted an inmate without provocation,” the report states.

A hearing was held before the Franklin County commissioners on March 6, 2012, regarding the incident. Commissioners unanimously voted to terminate Shufelt’s employment, the report states.

The report says Shufelt provided information to the commission investigator that about 3½ years prior to filing his discrimination complaint, he was hospitalized and diagnosed with a mental disability.

He was out of work on medical leave for about six months and when he returned to work, he was demoted, he claimed. County officials disputed his claim and it was only included as background information in the investigator’s report, according to a footnote.

The report also states that Shufelt claimed he was never given the opportunity to explain the February 2012 altercation. He said that when he appeared before commissioners, only a portion of the surveillance video was shown. He protested that an important part of the video was missing, but nothing was done about it, he claimed.

He also claimed that other correction officers similarly had to use force against inmates to gain control of situations, and they were never disciplined or terminated.


According to the report county officials claim Shufelt was suspended with pay on Feb. 14, 2012, for assaulting an inmate. It is also claimed that Shufelt failed to report the incident until asked to do so, and when he did, his report was incomplete, false or misleading.

It was determined by county officials that the incident, along with Shufelt’s past performance deficiencies, should result in Shufelt’s employment being terminated, the report states.

County officials also claimed that they did not perceive Shufelt as disabled and disability was not a factor in his termination, according to the report. Shufelt also provided no evidence relating his disability to his termination to county officials, according to the report.

The investigator’s report states there is no evidence that county officials had a problem with Shufelt’s disability or wanted to terminate him for this reason. It also states that Shufelt was clearly terminated directly following an altercation with an inmate that was determined to be an assault, the report states.

Shufelt also provided no evidence to show how the county commissioners would have knowledge of a disability or would be motivated to terminate him for this reason, according to the report.

Shufelt’s wife, Tammy Dwinal-Shufelt, said Wednesday night that her husband had no comment.

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