April 24, 2014

Employee claims SCDEW director framed her in data breach

A S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce employee who was fired after agency officials said she improperly downloaded sensitive information is suing the agency, claiming SCDEW’s director made up the allegations.

Former human resources director Kerry Paul sued SCDEW and its director Cheryl Stanton this week. The lawsuit was first reported by the political blog FITSnews.

Paul was fired from her post as human resources director at the Department of Employment and Workforce. Agency officials say she downloaded personal data of thousands of current and former employees and their beneficiaries onto a personal flash drive. She was not identified at the time.

In the complaint filed Wednesday, Paul said such work was part of her job and that she never acted with nefarious intent. She claimed that Stanton forced her out of the agency because employees viewed Paul as the “informal leader” of the organization. Paul had helped lead the agency after previous director Abraham Turner resigned in March.

The complaint notes several confrontations between Paul and her boss since Stanton took over the troubled agency in May. Paul states Stanton eventually asked her to leave in November.

SCDEW officials declined to comment.

A State Law Enforcement Division spokesman said the investigation into the data breach was “ongoing” and that he could not provide a copy of the agency’s findings at this time.