BILLINGS-Montana’s former Chief Public Defender has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Bureau against the Office of the Public Defender for alleged age discrimination.
Randi Hood, who claims to have more than 35 years of experience as an attorney, filed the complaint in November of 2015.
Hood formally served as the Chief Public Defender in the state for five years and acted as the Regional Deputy Chief Public Defender in Helena for 18 years, according to the complaint.
According to Tim Little, a staff attorney for the state Department of Labor and Industry, the case is new enough that investigators have not yet been assigned to look into the allegations.
Hood stated in the complaint that she recently applied for a position as Assistant Public Defender in the Helena office, but she was not offered the job.
Hood said there were two positions open when she applied for the job.
Two other applicants were interviewed for the position as well and both ultimately were hired.
But according to Hood, she was not selected by the office because of her age.
“I was one of the three applicants interview,” said Hood in the complaint. “On information and belief, one is 20 or more years younger than I am; the other is 30 or more years younger than I am. Both have less knowledge, skills, abilities and experience than I do.”
Hood also alleged that the younger of the two applicants has less than four years of experience as a public defender in total and less than two years of experience in Montana.
“(OPD) hired the two younger, less experienced, and less qualified applicants for the available positions,” said Hood in the complaint.
Hood also applied for a position on the Montana Supreme Court in 2014, but was not chosen for that position.
Hood received the honor of Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Lawyer of the Year in 2004.’
Reporter: Aja Goare