Judge dismisses suits filed against Tanana Chiefs Conference

Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Superior Court judge has dismissed lawsuits filed against the Tanana Chiefs Conference by two former management employees who said the organization mistreated them.

Superior Court Judge Charles Pengilly ruled in favor of the nonprofit corporation May 13 in suits brought by Katherine Johnson and Larry Fisher.

Johnson was hired as rural health director in July 1997 and fired the following April. Two years later she filed a suit charging the organization, as well as Fisher and her supervisor, Alfred Ketzler, with creating a hostile work environment for her, firing her unjustly and defaming her in a letter that accompanied her termination.

Fisher filed a cross-claim against TCC, charging he had been effectively demoted to separate him and Johnson, leading to his resignation.

TCC denied the allegations and said the employees had failed to use all of administrative remedies.

In Fisher's case, TCC said it was arguable whether his transfer, which did not involve a pay cut, constituted a demotion.

TCC also said Johnson and Fisher were ''at-will'' employees and it was within the organization's right to terminate or transfer them.

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