Canyon County

City of Nampa denies violating U.S. Constitution in firing of library employee

A former Nampa Public Library employee is suing the city for wrongful termination.
A former Nampa Public Library employee is suing the city for wrongful termination. kjones@IdahoStatesman.com

Theresa Hampton, who worked for the city of Nampa for more than 11 years, claims the city violated her due process rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution when her supervisors fired her in February.

Hampton, in her role as the Nampa Public Library’s circulation supervisor, fired an employee in November 2016 for substandard performance, according to a complaint filed in federal court.

Tina Combs, the city’s human resources director, ordered Hampton to rehire the employee in December, according to the complaint. About a month later, the employee resigned, accusing Hampton of creating a “hostile work environment.”

Combs later directed library director Chris Cooper to demote Hampton, according to the lawsuit. But Hampton refused the demotion, and Combs fired her Feb. 10.

Now, Hampton is accusing the city of violating her due process rights by not providing her with “fair notice and the opportunity to be heard to clear (her) name of such false accusations.” Hampton also accuses the city of not providing an impartial decision maker on her termination decision.

The city denies Hampton’s accusations. Through its attorney, hired and paid for by the city’s insurance agency, Nampa has submitted copies of letters and audio recordings of meetings between Hampton and her supervisors in which her demotion and termination were discussed a week before her termination.

“The allegations contained in (Hampton’s) complaint do not rise to the level of a deprivation of rights which are protected by the Constitution or any of the legal provisions referred to in (Hampton’s) complaint,” the city’s answer to the lawsuit reads.

Hampton’s attorney, William Thomas, is requesting the court to consider the matter a class-action suit because other city employees “were subjected to the same wrongful termination practices by the City of Nampa, without due process, entitling them to the same relief.”

It’s unclear how many such employees exist and who they are.

Hampton is asking the court to order her reinstatement to her job or payment in lieu of it. She is also asking for unspecified damages for “emotional distress, humiliation, anguish, embarrassment, as well as back pay and lost benefits, including retirement benefits awarded government employees in Idaho, interest and court costs.

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