March 7, 2020

Mallory Herrmann

A jury has found the City of Lee’s Summit is not liable for punitive damages in a suit filed by Denise Kelly, former director of human resources.

The verdict in favor of the city was reached on Mar. 2 in the Jackson County circuit court.

Kelly filed the lawsuit against the city in May 2018, citing unlawful employment practices and discrimination. She alleged that when she entered into the management agreement with the city, she was one of only three women in management and was the only director not provided with a mileage stipend in her contract, and that she received the lowest pay.

The petition stated that Kelly had good working relationships with her first two supervisors but that it changed in July 2015 when Nick Edwards, director of administration, became her direct supervisor. Kelly claimed that Edwards screamed at her, intentionally kept information from her and sought her assistance in firing older female employees without any legitimate basis for termination.

In February 2017, Edwards informed Kelly that she would be put on administrative leave without providing any reason for the decision. Her employment and management agreement were officially terminated in March 2017.

Edwards has served as assistant city manager since December 2017, and he has worked with the city for close to ten years. He will soon be making a move to Joplin; their city council recently voted unanimously to hire him as their new city manager.

Related article: Former HR Director Sues City For Discrimination