City of Sunrise Responds to Military Family Harassment Suit

Since last Friday, the Pulp has been following the legal saga of Cynthia and Forrest Bagnall, longtime City of Sunrise employees who claim they were harassed at work after Forrest completed military leave.

Troubles began for the Bagnalls in 2008. Forrest Bagnall, who is an engineer with Sunrise, is also a member of the Army Reserve. He says he was unfairly treated for taking military leave: Though his experience positions him for the Public Works director job, he says, he didn't get it because of his previous deployments.

When Forrest Bagnall complained, Cynthia Bagnall was interviewed during the Department of Labor's investigation. Cynthia Bagnall, who has worked for Sunrise as a secretary for 21 years, says her bosses started mistreating her because she complied with DOL's investigation -- going so far as to reprimand her for using the ladies' room during work hours.

The City of Sunrise has now responded to the suit and claims that the Bagnalls' concerns are unfounded -- and entirely unrelated to Forrest's military service.

"The City does not generally comment on pending litigation; however, the City's position is outlined in the Motion for Summary Judgment pending before the Court," said Christine Pfeffer, City of Sunrise spokeswoman, in an email to the Pulp.

So what, exactly, is the gist of that filing?

Sunrise says that it treated the Bagnalls fairly. The city has also said that the Bagnalls don't have any evidence of harassment. 

Sunrise "promptly reemployed F. Bagnall in a position of equivalent status, salary, and benefits to the position he would have held had he not left for military duty," city lawyers say in court filings.

And Cynthia Bagnall, Sunrise claims, "is unable to identify any adverse employment action since she claims to have participated" in her husband's complaint.

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Victoria Bekiempis