• Polk Co. court employee claims sex harassment complaint led to firing


    POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A central Florida government worker claims she was fired because she reported sexual misconduct between two of her co-workers. Alisha Rupp, who worked as a judicial assistant at the Polk County Courthouse, read a prepared statement to explain why she was fired earlier this month.

    "I was terminated July 10 because I witnessed sexual misconduct between Judge (Susan) Flood and her bailiff, (James Bubba) Maxcy," said Rupp to a room of reporters at her lawyer's office in Palm Harbour.

    Rupp, who worked as a judicial assistant next door to Flood, claimed that same bailiff later threatened her even further.

    "'I complained about bailiff Bubba Maxcy that [he said] if I had ever reported what I had seen or witnessed," Rupp paused and then sighed. "That is wrong, and that is against everything in the judicial system that I have [been] a part of for the past 15 years."

    Rupp held the news conference two weeks after the county fired her, alleging she falsified time sheets – something she denied. Rupp even cleared it with the judge she directly works for, and the judge was convinced her time was accounted for properly.

    "Alisha went through with Judge (Beth) Harlan everything she did those days in question. [The judge said] 'Looks like your work to me. I got no problem with it,'' said Rupp's lawyer, David Linesch. "This termination is in clear retaliation for Alisha's complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace."

    Rupp also claimed she knew of the alleged sexual misconduct since late 2011 but only reported it after she had had enough.

    "I loved my job and was immensely proud of the work I did for her," said Rupp of the years she spent with Harlan.

    Rupp's lawyer admitted that his client failed to show up to a hearing set up by Chief Judge William Smith to investigate the allegations because she felt it would do her no good. Rupp has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for wrongful termination.

    No lawsuit has been officially filed. A county spokesperson told Eyewitness News that both Flood and Maxcy are still working at the Polk County Courthouse because an internal investigation found there was no sexual misconduct.

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    Polk Co. court employee claims sex harassment complaint led to firing