RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A former employee of a Piedmont Triad sheriff’s office is suing the department after he says he was unlawfully fired.
Federal court documents show that the plaintiff, Ricky Spivey, filed a lawsuit against Randolph County Sheriff Greg Seabolt in December of 2022, alleging wrongful termination.
The complaints outlined by Spivey took place between Aug. 1, 2020, and Oct. 1, 2020, while he worked for Randolph County Sheriff’s Office. Spivey is described in the court documents as “career law enforcement” who was employed as a deputy sheriff from Aug. 1, 2020, until he was terminated on Oct. 1, 2020. He worked as a bailiff at the Randolph County Courthouse.
He alleges that, on his first day at the courthouse, he was introduced to a sergeant at the front desk, who told them “they were going to be buddies” and for Spivey to “stick with him.” This was the person in the chain of command that Spivey reported to, and he alleges that he was chosen by Sheriff Seabolt specifically for that position of authority.
The sergeant “told [Spivey] it was his courthouse, he ran things there because he had the Sheriff in his pocket” and said he had the power to get people reassigned from the courthouse, according to the documents.
Within 10 days of that conversation, a female lieutenant was transferred out of the courthouse. Spivey alleges that the sergeant took credit for that transfer and called her a “b—-.”
Spivey alleges the sergeant told him he was too serious all the time and that he was “stiff,” the documents read.
According to the documents, Spivey said that he was “just trying to learn their way of doing things.” The sergeant allegedly responded that Spivey needed to “loosen up, joke, cut up” and that he needed to “act like [the sergeant] and some of the other deputies or he would not last long with the sheriff’s office.”
Then Spivey alleges that the sergeant said no one wanted to work with him because he was too serious and he wouldn’t “cut up and have a good time like the rest of them.”
Court documents go on to say that he “intimidated” Spivey, making him feel like his job security depended on “being the jokester, horse-playing, making sexual remarks” and that distressed Spivey.
The court document outlines several incidents that Spivey alleges happened while he was working in the courthouse, including the sergeant declaring he “blew his load” on a chair that was noticeably wet in the break room, pulling female employees’ hair, a deputy sharing porn with other employees, a female coworker pointing out a defendant that had visible nipple piercings and discussing sex during work hours.
“[The sergeant] engaged in and allowed this type of activity among his direct reports on a daily basis, and if another supervisor or someone he did not trust walked in he would halt this activity, straighten up, or go silent and walk out.”
Spivey alleges that a female coworker made comments that she “felt like she had a d— in her uniform.”
Spivey complained the first week of September, telling the sergeant that he objected to it. Spivey was sent home without pay in the last week of September and then on Oct. 1 2020, he was fired for an unspecified policy violation, the lawsuit alleges.
He was never written up or warned about his work performance prior to his termination. He’s alleging retaliation, age discrimination and unlawful termination.