I.F. woman sues county, claims discrimination

An Idaho Falls woman is suing Bonneville County for more than $1 million, claiming gender discrimination in the workplace.

According to the lawsuit, filed May 20, Kendalee Rydalch was fired from her job as a juvenile probation officer after she was convicted of driving under the influence. In her lawsuit, Rydalch alleges that a male co-worker convicted of the same crime kept his job.

Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen said Wednesday the county had not been formally served with Rydalch’s suit.

Rydalch, who is representing herself, was hired by the county in March 2006, Bonneville County Human Resources director John Henderson said. In November 2007, the lawsuit claims an unnamed male supervisor was found guilty of driving under the influence while on duty, but kept his job.

In the lawsuit, Rydalch said she was arrested and charged with

driving under the influence Feb. 9, 2013. Six days later, Rydalch said she was fired by Bonneville County Juvenile Probation Supervisor Meri Bybee, who also is named as a defendant.

In the lawsuit, Rydalch said she filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission and received a “right to sue” letter. Idaho Human Rights Commission Senior Civil rights investigator Linda Goodman said the Commission issues a right to sue letter with every complaint.

Henderson said the Commission “ruled in the county’s favor” after the complaint was investigated, meaning the Idaho Human Rights Commission did not find Bonneville County guilty of gender discrimination.

Rydalch is seeking damages equivalent to what her earnings would have been from Feb. 15, 2013 to 2034, the projected year of her retirement. Based on a pay rate of $23 an hour and a 40-hour work week, that comes out to about $1.05 million before taxes. She also is seeking reimbursement for any attorney fees incurred.

Reporter Ali Tadayon can be reached at 542-6746.