(MURRAY COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- Two local attorneys have been hired to represent the Clerk and employees of the Magistrate Court of Murray County, Georgia.

Stuart James, Chattanooga and McCracken Poston, of Ringgold, are representing the group, which claims a hostile work environment, improper employment practices, violations of Section 1983 of the US Code and suppression of free speech rights.

The EEOC charges have been filed with the Atlanta Division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Former Judge Bryant Cochran and Murray County, Georgia.

The complaints involve allegations of Cochran creating a hostile work environment. The charges allege violations of Title VII of the U.S. Code as well as the suppression of each individual's free speech rights.

The claims will be investigated by the EEOC once the charges are processed.

"I have not been surprised by the allegations made by our clients. Based upon what I have seen from former Judge Cochran it is no surprise that his actions have impacted many people—he felt he could regularly exceed the authority of his elected office. The employees of the clerk's office, and litigants in Magistrate Court, have suffered from the improper and abhorrent actions of former Judge Cochran," James said.

"There are those times where you have to stand up and be heard, and our clients are willing
to be heard to put a stop to these kinds of practices in Murray County Georgia," James commented.

Poston added "The evolving revelations out of Murray County are unconscionable when it comes to what women here have had to endure from the former Chief Magistrate Judge for years," pointing out this makes the third, fourth and fifth woman who has come forward with evidence of inappropriate behavior of the former judge.

Poston explained further that the filing of the EEOC complaint and ensuing investigation
offers federal protected class status to other county employees who come forward to corroborate or add additional information to the investigation of these issues. Poston said "Any employee who has witnessed or knows of these matters personally should come forward and be protected under the law."

James and Poston added that they may ask for a right to sue letter immediately from the EEOC. In order to properly protect their client's rights they are both discussing avenues allowing their clients to seek immediate court action.

We'll have more on this story as it develops.