A former assistant state attorney not retained when Orlando’s State Attorney Aramis Ayala took office in January has sued, claiming Ayala discriminated against her because she is disabled.

Ayala’s office denies the charges.

Kailey Evans stated in her Nov. 6 lawsuit that she suffers from depression and other mental health issues, but that they are managed with treatment, yet after she disclosed her illness to a colleague she was not retained when Ayala took office. Evans charged in her lawsuit, filed with Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit Court, that the newly-elected state attorney used the information she shared with her colleague to decide not to carry Evans forward from the staff of outgoing State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

Evans’ complaint also includes assertions that she had been having an “intimate relationship” with the colleague with whom she shared the information about her mental health issues, a relationship that had ended last summer. Evans charged that a supervisor claimed she was “crazy” when she tried to discuss the relationship within the office.

Ayala has not yet responded in court, but an official in her office denied Evans’ allegations in the lawsuit, and charged that the reason for her dismissal from the staff of Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office was for dishonesty.

“Kailey Evans was not hired by State Attorney Ayala because a member of The Florida Bar outside of our office provided reliable information that Ms. Evans intentionally fabricated evidence and lied to the Court. The state attorney has zero tolerance for unethical conduct by assistant state attorneys,” Kamilah Perry, general counsel for the JC9 State Attorney’s Office, said in a written statement issued by the office. “Therefore Ms. Evans claims that her disability had any bearing on her employment are completely unsubstantiated and are without merit.”

Before filing her lawsuit, Evans filed the complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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