Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has agreed to pay $285,000 to settle a former investigator’s sex discrimination claims.
County attorneys defending Howard and the DA’s chief criminal investigator, Cynthia Nwokocha, on Monday joined with Atlanta attorney Mario Williams to notify U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Clay Fuller they have settled the two-year-old federal sex discrimination and retaliation case after a court-ordered mediation, according to court records. Williams said the settlement is $285,000.
Governor Henderson sued Howard and Nwokocha in 2017 after Henderson—a longtime investigator with the DA’s Crimes Against Women and Children Task Force—was informed by Nwokocha that he was ineligible for a senior post as Howard’s human-trafficking investigator because the position was reserved for women, according to Henderson’s federal complaint.
Henderson no longer works for the district attorney, Williams said.
Williams declined to comment further on the settlement. Howard said Wednesday that he would “really, really love to comment” but has been instructed by Fulton County Attorney Patrise Perkins-Hooker “that it would be inappropriate” to do so “at this time.”
The Daily Report could not reach Deputy County Attorney Kaye Burwell, who is defending the case.
Since Howard created the position in 2012, all four investigators who filled it have been women, Henderson’s suit claimed.
Henderson said that he, after Nwokocha appointed a fourth woman he claimed was less qualified than he, asked Nwokocha about why he didn’t get the job. The chief investigator informed him “the position would only be filled by a woman because some jobs are not for certain people,” according to his complaint.
Henderson’s suit also claimed that, after he filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Howard and Nwokocha tried to cover up the gender-based hiring requirement for the post by reopening applications and changing the minimum job requirements specifically to lock out Henderson.
Henderson has worked 23 years in law enforcement for the Atlanta and Henry County police departments and as a DA investigator. But he doesn’t have a four-year college degree, according to his suit.
Qualifications for the sex-trafficking investigator post and other similar positions had previously required either a college degree in a law enforcement-related field and at least five years of law enforcement or investigative experience or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience, according to the suit. But, after Henderson complained, the qualifications were modified to require a college degree.
Despite the position allegedly being reopened, the woman Nwokocha had already hired remained in the position, the suit alleged.