Two New Sexual Harassment Lawsuits Filed in Louisville, Kentucky

In the last week, two new sexual harassment lawsuits were filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Kentucky. The suits also claim retaliation and wrongful termination, claims which often accompany sexual harassment or discrimination allegations.

In the first case, Mary Sue Turner alleges she was harassed by a fellow employee while she was employed at the Jefferson County Clerk’s office. She has sued the clerk’s office and County clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. Ms. Turner claims that Mr. Clark touched her inappropriately, made lewd gestures with his body, and even slept in her office in the hopes of being intimate with her. Complaints about his behavior allegedly fell on deaf ears and he continued to harass her. After she complained about the harassment and reported that the office was accepting inappropriate gifts from local businesses, Ms. Turner contends that Ms. Holsclaw gave her bad performance reviews and wrongfully terminated her.

The second case was filed by Dr. Clay Kendall, a veterinarian that was employed by Louisville Metro Animal Services. The lawsuit states that the former director of the department, Gilles Meloche, sent her sexually explicit phone messages and touched her inappropriately. Dr. Kendall also claims that Mr. Meloche lured her to Proof on Main for a supposed business meeting between the two of them and one other individual. Mr. Meloche was intoxicated upon her arrival and proceeded to talk about Dr. Kendall’s personal life rather than business. The third party that Mr. Meloche said would be there stated after the fact that she was never requested to join them at the restaurant. Dr. Kendall complained to officials and showed them lewd text messages from Meloche, but they allegedly did not take any action to remedy the situation. Subsequently two new vets were hired to replace Dr. Kendall even though she allegedly had a contract to provide veterinary services.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are two varieties of sexual harassment. The type illustrated above occurs when an employee is subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” The other type of sexual harassment occurs when someone makes derogatory remarks about an employee’s sex in general, such as degrading comments to a woman about women as a whole. Sexual harassment does not always occur between and male and female; it can occur between two people of the same sex as well. Not every off-color remark is considered sexual harassment. The EEOC states “the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”

If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, whether of a sexual nature or gender-based, it is important to talk to a Kentucky employment attorney to determine what actions should be taken to remedy the situation.

Sources:

Ex-animal services boss sued; The Courier-Journal; Jason Riley; January 11, 2012

Jefferson clerk and office face lawsuit; The Courier-Journal; Jason Riley; January 10, 2012