A Beaufort County employee will receive $55,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed she was passed over for promotion because she is black.
In return, the employee agreed to retire Sept. 19, waive any claim to reinstatement and promise to never again apply for county employment, the settlement agreement states.
Indy Bostick, an appraiser who worked in the county assessor's office, sued the county in 2009 claiming two white men with less experience were promoted ahead of her.
The county denied wrongdoing, argued that Bostick was a mediocre and insubordinate employee, and claimed she had a history of racial hypersensitivity.
Jury selection for the case was scheduled for Sept. 13, court documents indicate, with a federal trial to follow on Oct. 31.
Instead, the parties settled out of court, and the action was dismissed.
The settlement agreement, obtained from the county through South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act, specifies the terms of Bostick's resignation and her payment.
Under the agreement, the S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund, which defends the county in certain lawsuits, will pay $20,000 of the total sum for alleged damages; the county will pay $35,000, minus deductions, for alleged lost wages. Bostick will pay any taxes on the sum.
A settlement does not equate to an admission of guilt. The county "specifically denies any wrongdoing related to Ms. Bostick's employment" and agreed to pay "solely to avoid the cost of continued litigation," the agreement states.
County attorney Josh Gruber declined to comment, citing a confidentiality provision in the settlement.
Attempts to reach Bostick's attorney, Tandi Card of Columbia, and the attorney who defended the county, Derwood Aydlette III of Columbia, for comment were unsuccessful.
Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.
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