A former Washington State Patrol dispatcher with a bad eye is suing the agency, claiming it put her good eye at risk by keeping her work area too dark.
Dianne Murray, who worked as a dispatcher in the WSP Spokane office until October 1993, filed the suit in Spokane County Superior Court earlier this week.
Murray wants her job back in addition to lost pay and punitive damages for pain, suffering and humiliation.
She claims in the suit that WSP supervisors discriminated against her by failing to provide adequate lighting in the communications center where she worked.
WSP spokesman Lt. Ron O’Gwin declined to talk about the suit.
“I can’t comment on that because it’s still in litigation,” O’Gwin said from WSP headquarters in Olympia.
Murray, who is legally blind in her right eye, said in court documents her doctor told her the vision in her left eye was at risk if she continued to work in the dimly lit dispatch center.
She claims she took that information to her superiors and asked that overhead lights in the room be turned on.
It’s unclear why the lights are kept off.
WSP officials agreed to put lamps at individual work stations but refused to turn on the overhead lights, the suit states.
Murray claims the WSP’s training and recruitment videos show normally lighted dispatch rooms and that turning on the overhead lights would not keep other dispatchers from doing their jobs.
She further states in her suit that the compromise was no good, forcing her to travel between well-lit to dimly-lit rooms, thus putting more strain on her good eye.
Murray filed a formal complaint under the state’s anti-discrimination laws to force the WSP to turn on the lights, the suit states.
Murray claims she was harassed by her co-workers for filing the complaint.
She said she received prank phone calls and that some of her colleagues wore sunglasses in the communications room to agitate her.
WSP supervisors disciplined her when she complained about the harassment, the suit states, saying her claims weren’t specific enough.
She left the WSP shortly thereafter. The suit doesn’t say whether she resigned or was fired.