Florence Co. sheriff candidate sues Darlington Co. Sheriff’s Office, claims wrongful termination

Pee Dee

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – A candidate for Florence County sheriff is suing the Darlington County Sheriff’s office, claiming wrongful termination after announcing his candidacy.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday and lists the plaintiff as Darrin Yarborough, who is running as a Democratic candidate for the position of Florence County sheriff. The defendants are listed as the DCSO and Darlington County Sheriff Tony Chavis “in his individual and official capacities.”

Chavis offered Yarborough a position as a major of the sheriff’s office on November 7, 2018, according to the lawsuit. Yarborough accepted this position on Nov. 8, 2018.

Yarborough claims he informed Chavis of his intent to run for Florence County sheriff in March 2019 and that Chavis “was informed well before the announcement date.” He also claims that Chavis “made attempts to impede, discourage or prohibit” Yarborough’s political efforts while employed with the sheriff’s office “in ways that included creating policies that discourage political activity while employed with DCSO.”

Yarborough further claims in the lawsuit that “immediately” after announcing his intent to run for Florence County sheriff, three DCSO officers “personally visited” his home and “notified him he was terminated from DCSO.”

It is also alleged in the lawsuit that Chavis “terminated” Yarborough’s position on April 4, 2019 “without giving plaintiff any cause for termination” and that Yarborough “was essentially punished for engaging in political activity and that his professional standing was impaired as a result of the abrupt termination.”

Yarborough also claims he “has experienced extreme emotional trauma, depression, and distress, that led to emotional distress within his marital home and physical damage to his health, all as a result of the misleading and negative comments made” by the defendants about his “work performance and professional reputation and as a result of defendant’s retaliation and hostile work environment.”

The lawsuit also claims that Yarborough was discriminated upon because of his race and that he “is a public employee who has the freedom to engage in political activity, choose political associations and to engage in free political speech without the fear of reprisal from an employer.”

In April 2019, Yarborough told News13 deputies came to his house after he made the announcement, told him the sheriff needed his gear back and that his services were no longer needed.

Lt. Robert Kilgo, with the sheriff’s office, confirmed the termination to News13 in April 2019, saying Yarborough’s services were no longer needed when asked about the firing.

On Wednesday, News13 asked Kilgo if the sheriff’s office had any comment or statement regarding Yarborough’s lawsuit. Kilgo responded, saying “We wish Mr. Yarborough well in his future endeavors.”

Count on News13 for updates.

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