Marianne Mele Hall, the embattled chairman of the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, was fired from the National Savings & Trust Co. bank in 1981 for "insubordination," according to records filed in court by the bank, and a bank official testified that he received more than 20 complaints about Hall "screaming very derogatorily" and making "derogatory attacks" on co-workers.
After her firing, Hall -- whose name then was Marianne Mele Arthur -- sued the bank for breach of contract and for causing her "emotional distress." In her court complaint, Hall said bank managers pursued "a campaign of harassment" against her, saying one bank official "accused me of sitting in the middle of 15th Street on my suitcase, causing a traffic jam," while another "constantly yelled at me about running in the halls."
"These attacks included comments about my dress, i.e., that I attended work without a bra," Hall said.
The case was dismissed in 1982, after the bank paid Hall a "minimal" sum, according to lawyer Francis Thomas Coleman Jr., who handles employe cases for the NS&T bank. "It was really more of a nuisance settlement on our part," Coleman said. "We found her a difficult employe to deal with."
Efforts to reach Hall's lawyer listed in the court papers for comment were unsuccessful. Hall said last night, "I don't see how that the NS&T case is relevant . . . . I wish you wouldn't write about me anymore. I really have to go."
Hall has come under mounting attack in recent days because of her role in co-authoring a 1982 book, "Foundations of Sand," that says black Americans "insist on preserving their jungle freedoms, their women, their avoidance of personal responsibility and their abhorrence of the work ethic."
Hall's work on the book has prompted civil rights groups, House Democrats and Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.), chairman of the copyright subcommittee, to call for her resignation or firing by President Reagan. Hall has not responded to the calls, and the White House repeated yesterday that it had no comment.
Since the outcry, Hall has insisted that she merely edited the book. But in papers filed in the NS&T case on May 17, 1982, in D.C. Superior Court, Hall listed among her various jobs "co-author with Dr. Lawrence Hafstad of a book about economics titled 'Foundations of Sand.' "
Hall was fired in February 1981 "following a serious incident of insubordination," bank officials said in the court papers. Robert Clay, then the bank's personnel officer, explained in a deposition that Hall was fired for "taking a two-week leave of absence that was previously denied to her."
Chiswell D. Langhorne, then the bank's vice president and trust officer, said in a deposition that Hall missed work "roughly 20 percent" of the time and said her absenteeism "had a cumulative effect" on her firing.
Hall said in her complaint that she was hired for a $19,000-a-year job of new-business development officer in 1980, but later was put in a training program at an $18,000-a-year salary to become a trust account administrator. She said she was repeatedly promised she would be promoted to the business development job, and was turned down each time.
Bank officials said they were preserving their flexibility to put new employes where they wanted. In his deposition, Langhorne said of Hall, "we were amazed about her lack of knowledge in certain respects."
Hall said in the court papers that she was fired after suffering from job-related stress and being ordered by her doctor to stay in bed for two weeks. In the complaint, Hall's lawyer wrote that Hall "has suffered, continues to suffer, and will in the future suffer great physical distress, emotional anguish and financial loss."
Hall sued for $401,000 in compensatory, and $25,000 in punitive, damages.
During testimony, details emerged about what Hall called a "campaign of harassment," but which Langhorne in his deposition described as Hall's "screaming" at him and co-workers. Langhorne said at one point Hall "cussed me out for about an hour, up one side and down the other."
He said Hall screamed at him "a couple of times a week, at least."