Sheriff Jenkins

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins

An 18-year veteran of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office has until Friday to file an amended complaint in a yearlong lawsuit that’s accused Sheriff Chuck Jenkins and other supervisors of discrimination based on gender.

Amanda Ensor, a female sergeant who’s been with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for nearly two decades, filed suit against the agency, county, sheriff and other supervisors in May 2020 for allegedly violating her medical leave rights and discriminating against her on the basis of gender. Among the relief requested, Ensor seeks reinstatement to her previous position, back pay, compensation for losses and attorney’s fees. Altogether she is seeking more than $600,000.

Ensor filed suit against the parties in May 2020, but in a March 25 order, U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander dismissed some claims made by Ensor and granted certain motions by the defendants. Jenkins, in his official capacity, still faces a count alleging disparate treatment based on sex/gender in violation of Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Ensor’s complaint centers on two periods of leave she took under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a law that allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

In addition to the county, sheriff’s office and Jenkins, the lawsuit names Capt. Ronald Hibbard, Capt. Jason Null and Lt. Gregory Warner as plaintiffs, suing them in their individual and official capacities. In her March ruling, Judge Hollander dismissed the counts against the sheriff’s office itself, which the parties agreed is not a separate entity subject to suit, since county police departments are considered agents of the state.

“The sense of culture, coming from the top down, that pervades FCSO is one of discriminatory animus toward multiple protected characteristics, including sex,” Ensor’s complaint reads.

She further alleges Jenkins does not believe women should be in supervisory positions and speaks about women in a derogatory way.

“Understanding that this lawsuit is a year old and in litigation, I am limited to what I can say,” Jenkins told the News-Post via email. “I categorically deny Sgt. Ensor’s allegations of gender discrimination and retaliation or interference with her use of FMLA made in her lawsuit … I further deny Sgt. Ensor’s other accusations against FCSO supervisors and commanders.”

Ensor’s attorney, Janice Rockwell, said she and her client did not wish to comment.

Ensor has until Friday to submit an amended complaint to the court and has indicated in court records she intends to do so. The defendants’ responses are due June 4.

The crux of the suit stems from a situation in which Ensor participated in filming a prank arrest video with local YouTube personalities in September 2018, according to her complaint. Ensor suggested she and two other deputies appeared in the video to foster a positive relationship with the community, the complaint reads.

The sheriff’s office found fault with her actions and launched an internal investigation, charging Ensor with abuse of her position/unauthorized use of likeness, neglect of duty and incompetence.

“Sgt. Ensor arranged the video participation, which featured a staged arrest using uniformed on-duty deputies, under Sgt. Ensor’s supervision, and the use of marked Frederick County Sheriff’s Office vehicles,” Jenkins wrote in the email.

Court documents state the video was not approved by the sheriff’s office in advance.

As a result, Ensor was suspended without pay for 15 workdays, lost her take home vehicle for 30 workdays and was transferred from patrol to judicial services, court documents show.

Jenkins said via email that Ensor maintained the same rank and pay in her reassignment and that Ensor and the other deputies involved were fairly disciplined.

Ensor argues the discipline was a demotion and discriminatory, citing an instance where a male deputy was not punished for participating in another prank arrest. In a court filing, the FCSO responded by saying that the male employee’s scenario was “plainly dissimilar,” arguing he responded to an actual call for service and his encounter was not posted online.

Ensor left for surgery two days after the prank video, documents state. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office began an internal investigation into her conduct.

Ensor was informed of the investigation while at home, and she said she was ordered to come into work for an interrogation while on medical leave, according to the suit. The FCSO countered in court documents that Ensor’s legal counsel offered to have her come in for questioning.

Ensor subsequently filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March 2019, which in February 2020 advised “review of the available evidence does not establish a violation” of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Ensor was issued a right to sue letter, documents show.

In March 2020, Ensor took leave for another surgery. She reportedly asked to work “restricted duty” afterward, but her request was denied, which allegedly “forced her to use sick leave to cover time off when she was capable of working a restricted duty assignment,” according to documents.

In her complaint, Ensor pointed to another male colleague who, allegedly, was permitted to work restricted duty after a surgery. In his email, Jenkins said there were no restricted duty assignments available in judicial services at the time.

The counts brought forth by Ensor allege violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unlawful interference and denial of FMLA benefits due to transfer/demotion, violations of the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act, and discrimination/retaliation for taking FMLA leave.

A Miner Detail first reported on this story. The website's coverage can be found here.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller

(18) comments

Awteam2021

Has this been done before? I don’t think Ensor has much of a case. She shouldn’t be taking agency property to make a video. But, I would have to ask, why a sergeant wouldn’t know that? Is this a practice in the agency? Was she treated differently then others in the agency doing the same thing? And where’s the protocol, governance, and management to explain what “you can and can’t do” as an officer? Does Jenkins have true direction over the agency? Is he competent in today’s social media world?

gjthuro

OH no, the sky is falling once again

JerryR

Agree with all the opinions on here. Bad choices can't be covered up and will be exposed. You can't fix stupid!! No accountability for her own actions and then tried to save herself used the old deflection trick.

huskycats

AOC [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

artandarchitecture

"She further alleges Jenkins does not believe women should be in supervisory positions and speaks about women in a derogatory way."

Well, Amanda, your poor judgement & dumb youtube video certainly shows *you* were a bad choice.

“The sense of culture, coming from the top down, that pervades FCSO is one of discriminatory animus toward multiple protected characteristics, including sex,” Ensor’s complaint reads.

And how many years did it take you to figure out that you're not fond of police culture? Did it even occur to you to apply elsewhere, where you'd be happier---at a woke place which cheers you on simply for the way you were born, as opposed to actual skill? Many areas in the country are trying to recruit police these days.

AOC

[thumbup]

marinick1

artandarchitecture, you are RIGHT ON! [thumbup][thumbup]

yogib

with 500 cops. Jenkins thinks he can treat people any way he wishes

gabrielshorn2013

yogib, if you read the article, you would have seen that the deputy in question misused FCSO property, and did unapproved personal activities with other deputies while on the clock, and then posted them online. This would have gotten almost anyone a reprimand in their personnel file, if not outright dismissal, as per many company policies in the area. She (and the other two deputies) deserved the disciplinary actions they received. Do you deny that? The deputy was not demoted as she claims. She kept her pay grade and salary, but moved to judicial services, meaning she serves at the courthouse, and serves legal documents issued by the courts. Maybe she should have asked for approval by her superiors before misusing FCSO resources. It looks like she is the one retaliating against her superiors (there were four people in the law suit, not just the Sheriff).

phydeaux994

All true gab, unless others did similar things and were not punished in a similar fashion as she has charged.

gabrielshorn2013

That's the question phy. Did others use their uniforms and official FCSO vehicles to film a staged fake arrest for their personal website? I don't think anyone else has. If I used company property that also contained the company logo for private use for a Facebook post, I'd be fired, as my actions would have reflected poorly on our company.

C.D.Reid

I would think that getting a video of this nature approved by her boss would have been the first thing she should have thought of, especially since it involved using uniformed, on-duty deputies and marked FCSO vehicles, and the fact that she wanted to post it online. As a sergeant, did she have the authority to do this type of video? Apparently not, so the resulting violations of FCSO policies justified reprimand. and she paid the price for her decisions. Also, I think it's going to be difficult for her to prove the accusation of Jenkins not believing women should be in supervisory positions since she's been in one herself. Those are my thoughts, though I'm sure Plumbum will be here soon to try to prove me wrong with multiple comments of her own, based on her own "legal expertise." Being an article about a lawsuit against the sheriff, I'm sure she'll be burning up the comments to this story.

AOC

Ms. Ensor should consider herself lucky she still has a job. Her tactics are nothing new, when you know you screwed up, don't accept responsibility deflect it by saying the Sheriff is singling me out for___________ [fill in the blank]; throw out as many outlandish claims as possible and see what sticks.

To assign on-duty personnel and resources so four millennial youtubers [who earn money based on video views] so they can stage fake prisoner escapes does not sound like any conclusion a reasonable, prudent and experienced supervisor would choose.

C.D.Reid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] AOC!

duffy5x

Jenkins is a Neanderthal.

marinick1

So are you, duffy5x.

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
duffy5x

And you won’t be able to grasp the hypocrisy of your statement. Wow...

Comment deleted.
duffy5x

Now you.

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