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posted: 5/14/2013 5:46 PM

Former Dist. 301school board member sues boss, claiming slander

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Laurel Kling, former president and 12-year member of the Burlington-based Central School District 301 board, has filed a slander lawsuit against her supervisor in the Kane County Probation Department.

In the lawsuit, Kling argues Drug Court Supervisor Carrie Thomas told co-workers Kling was "fired" from her post as school board president because Kling is an alcoholic.

She seeks more than $50,000 in damages and a jury trial.

"The allegation is a statement was made saying Ms. Kling had been fired from the school board for alcoholism," said Kling's attorney, Robert Smith, who declined to comment on how Kling said she learned of the statement.

The school district said Kling served from 1999 to spring 2011, when she decided not to seek another term.

Contacted by phone, Thomas said she had not been served with the lawsuit and was unaware one had been filed.

"This is news to me," she said. "I obviously can't make any comment. This is the first I've heard of this."

According to the lawsuit, recently filed in Kane County, Kling took a psychological test in May 2012 that was required by the county for her to carry a firearm as part of her duties as a Drug Court probation officer.

The lawsuit accuses Thomas of telling the psychologist who administered the test and another supervisor that Kling had been fired from the school board because "she was an alcoholic."

"On March 15, 2013, at a meeting of several employees of the Kane County Court Services Department, defendant admitted that she made the false statement as set forth above," the suit claims.

Smith said Kling was present at the March meeting but declined to elaborate.

The lawsuit argues the alleged statement was defamatory and that Kling was subjected to embarrassing, discriminatory and "occasionally hostile treatment" at work.

Kane County is not named as a defendant in the suit.

Both sides are due in court July 25.

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