AUGUSTA — The Maine Human Rights Commission voted 3-1 Monday to uphold an investigator’s “no cause finding” that there was no disability discrimination involved when Franklin County commissioners fired a corrections officer in 2012, commission case holder Cindy S. Rocque said.

Human Rights commissioners Deborah Whitworth, John Norman and Sallie Chandler voted in favor, while Commissioner A. Mavourneen Thompson opposed, she said.

Staff investigator Angela Tizon recommended the commission issue findings that there was “no reasonable ground to believe Franklin County commissioners discriminated against Robert Shufelt of Jay on the basis of disability by terminating his employment.”

Shufelt claimed he had 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.

“We are seeking legal counsel to pursue our various options as we move forward in this matter,” Shufelt’s wife, Tammy Dwinal-Shufelt, said Wednesday.

Robert Shufelt had been a corrections officer at the Franklin County Detention Center in Farmington from December 1988 to March 7, 2012, according to the investigator’s report.

In February 2012, Shufelt was involved in a physical altercation with an inmate. Two days later, Shufelt was suspended with pay while the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department investigated, the report states.

It concluded that Shufelt “assaulted an inmate without provocation,” according to the report.

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

Shufelt protested during the hearing that not all the evidence was shown and that he was not allowed to explain what happened.

According to the state report, county officials claimed 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.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.