County Pays $85,000 in Discrimination Settlement

Former fairgrounds employee alleges gender bias from management

By Molly Priddy

Flathead County paid an $85,000 settlement in April for a gender-bias claim from a former fairgrounds administrative assistant, who said the fairgrounds manager treated her unfairly.

Nuggett Carmalt, who worked for the county at the fairgrounds for 18 years, filed a complaint of gender bias against fairgrounds Manager Mark Campbell.

The complaint went to the Human Rights Bureau of the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. The settlement agreement states that no one is considered at fault.

In an interview with the Beacon, Carmalt said she had several gender-related grievances against Campbell, which she presented to the DLI. She said she didn’t want to sue the county, but she sought to be treated fairly.

“I never, ever, ever asked for money, never,” Carmalt said. “It was just about being treated the same.”

Initially, when the instances of perceived bias came up, Carmalt said she went to the fair board, and then to the county’s human resources department, and finally to the state’s Human Rights Bureau.

Carmalt’s attorney, James Bartlett, said his client entered mediation with the county, seeking training for Campbell and $2,500 for “our time.” Both Carmalt and Bartlett said they were “surprised” and “confused” when the $85,000 settlement was offered.

“I never thought they’d give me money,” Carmalt said. “It was only about being treated fairly and I wanted to keep my job. I loved my job.”

Campbell did not return calls seeking comment.

The settlement was reached in April, with the payment approved by the Flathead County Commission. The DLI dismissed the case on April 10, once the settlement was reached.

As part of the settlement, Campbell and the county human resource staff will take two hours of training about discrimination laws.

Carmalt resigned her position with the fairgrounds in mid-April.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.