Elections worker says disability cost her a job

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @cjingalls

KING5.com

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

RENTON, Wash. -- A Renton woman says her wheelchair cost her a job at King County Elections.

Patricia Clayton was a temporary worker at the elections headquarters in Renton for four years, so she was surprised when her bosses told her Monday she was no longer welcome.

“They said there was a complaint – complaints from my co-workers that I was a burden to my co-workers asking them to assist me,” said Clayton.

A King Co. Elections spokesperson refused to discuss specifics on the case.

Clayton, who has multiple sclerosis, uses a wheelchair to get around the large elections building.  She relies on co-workers to push her to the break room and to bring her bins of envelopes.

For several elections, she’s worked on signature verification.  She’s been trained to compare voter’s signatures on ballot envelopes with signature on file for each voter.  The employees are keeping an eye out for fraud.

“They have seen me in that wheelchair in previous elections and never brought up me being a burden on my co-workers.”

Clayton says she wasn’t given any warnings about the problem.   She was simply let go.

It’s not like Clayton needs the $17 an hour job.  Her husband is an NFL Hall of Fame sportswriter and ESPN commentator.

“To have this taken away from her on almost on the eve of the election is so hurtful,” says John Clayton.

Patricia Clayton says  she was told the decision was not made because of the quality of her work, but because of frustration expressed by co-workers.

A spokesperson says King County Elections routinely makes accommodations for employees with disabilities.  She said she could not discuss the Clayton case.

 
 

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