ST. LOUIS – Attorneys for a former St. Louis Circuit Attorney employee allege she was fired because she is white. Attorneys W. Bevis Schock and Erich Vieth filed a lawsuit on behalf of Becky Goetz. The lawsuit names three parties, including St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

Gardner’s office responded with a statement that read, “The Circuit Attorney’s Office does not provide public information on pending litigation regarding personnel matters other than to say that we deny that the Office engaged in any wrongful conduct, and we intend to defend this action vigorously.”

The lawsuit alleges Goetz was subjected to discrimination. One allegation is that a contractor with the prosecutor’s office said Goetz was told she was acting like a slave owner and could not do her job helping program participants because she was not black. Gardner and her first assistant are accused in the lawsuit of not responding appropriately.

“They should have stood up, stopped the improper conduct,” Vieth said.

Goetz was not given a reason for her firing, according to her attorneys. They said text messages she sent to a co-worker were read.

“She expressed concern that this attack had occurred. That’s what’s called protected speech,” Schock said. “It’s fighting back against discrimination. You can’t get fired for fighting back against discrimination.”

Gardner’s first assistant is also named in the lawsuit, along with the contractor accused of making discriminatory comments. The lawsuit states that the contractor, Victor H. Martin, is listed on the Missouri Department of Corrections Offender Search website as having an active sentence of first-degree murder.

Schock said of Gardner, “She is in charge of law enforcement, so you would think she would want people of the highest character, people with no criminal record to assist with her processes.”