Maui News

Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Maui County

October 16, 2017, 10:07 AM HST
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The Law Offices of Russell A. Kelm disclosed that a discrimination lawsuit was filed against Maui County by Robert Straub, who worked in the Maui County Business Resource Center at Maui Mall in Kahului.

Straub took a 30-day Family Medical Leave Act in December 2016 to care for his wife; the leave ended in January 2017.

Four days after returning to work, Straub said he was terminated by Maui County Department of Economic Development Director Teena Rasmussen.

Rasmussen was alleged to have told others that she didn’t want people to be off the job for more than two weeks at a time.

The FMLA allows six weeks leave every year for medical reasons.

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The suit also alleges that Karen Arakawa, the mayor’s sister-in-law, told others that since Straub had complained, the county could not buy T-shirts from Straub’s company, Ultra Hawaii, as they had for the past six years.

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Straub included a retaliation claim in his complaint, which was filed in federal court in Honolulu. He alleges that Maui County violated the FMLA and that they discriminated against him because of his association with his wife, who is a disabled person.

The case was filed on Oct. 13, 2017, and has been assigned to Chief Judge J. Michael Seabright.

Straub also complains that he has been replaced at the resource center by someone who younger than himself, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

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The case has not yet been set for trial.

Staub is represented by Russell A. Kelm, who has offices in Wailuku and in Columbus, Ohio.

The County is represented by Christie Trenholme in the Corporation Counsel’s Office for Maui County.

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