Patricia Morgan faces civil rights lawsuit

Rep. Patricia Morgan, R-Coventry

State Rep. Patricia Morgan, a Republican candidate for Rhode Island governor, is being sued by a former State House worker who claims Morgan violated her civil rights.

Morgan told NBC 10 News that she was cleared by the Commission for Human Rights of the State of Rhode Island.

Rachel Masciarelli, the plaintiff, worked in both the House Minority Office and the Joint Committee on Legislative Services, beginning in January 2017.

In the suit, Masciarelli said she told Morgan she suffered from depression and her psychiatrist suggested she get a therapy dog.

Morgan, who is the Republican minority leader, is alleged to have told at least three people that the plaintiff needed to be terminated before she became covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Morgan said that’s completely inaccurate.

"She was fired because of poor work ethic, and poor work product," Morgan said. "That’s why she was fired."

Morgan, who added that Masciarelli spent her time “watching movies at the office, playing on Facebook, and doing very, very bad work,” said the lawsuit is a political play.

"Seriously, this is being cooked up by Allan Fung to hurt me," she said. “I believe this has been brought forward by my political opponent to try and besmirch me in front of the primary. It’s meritless.”

A spokesman for Fung issued a statement, noting that Morgan’s claims are “absurd.”

“Next week, Mayor Fung will be accused by his opponents of sinking the Titanic and trying to fake the moon landing,” the statement noted. “That being said, ADA lawsuits are nothing to make political hay over. She should stop and ask herself if she is treating disabled people respectfully before she ties it into yet another cynical political hit.”

Masciarelli’s lawyer, David Cass, said the case has nothing to do with politics. Other than that, he did not want to talk about it in these early stages.

Masciarelli was terminated April 26, 2017. She is seeking unspecified damages for loss of income and emotional distress.

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