Exterminating co. sued for alleged sexual harassment of former employee
A Pennsylvania woman who claims her brief period of time working for an extermination company was marred by pervasive sexual harassment on the part of her supervisor has filed a federal discrimination complaint against the company and her former boss.
Feasterville, Pa. attorney Bruce Preissman filed the civil action March 30 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Shamokin, Pa. resident Jamie Bower.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are Levittown, Pa.-based Nationwide Exterminating Service, Inc. and Brad Cohen, who is identified as the company’s vice president.
The complaint alleges that shortly after starting employment with the company in August 2010, Bower began to experience ongoing sexual harassment perpetuated by Cohen.
“The sexually hostile work environment created by Cohen was severe, pervasive and intolerable,” the lawsuit alleges.
On one occasion late last April, the suit alleges, Cohen hit Bower hard on the buttocks with a paddle, and later asked her, while still holding the paddle, “how bad do you want that raise?”
“Still in shock, Bower continued to work for a short while longer before leaving work,” the lawsuit states.
Bower said she decided to leave the job because she feared for her safety and was afraid to return to that environment, the suit states.
Bower had earlier filed a complaint of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; she received a right-to-sue letter in the beginning of January.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating Bower’s civil rights. It also accuses the defendants of violating the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
The complaint also contains state law claims of assault and battery, relating to the incident where Cohen allegedly struck Bowers on the backside with a paddle.
The suit claims that the “intentional acts” caused by Cohen caused Bower to suffer physical pain, fear, humiliation, trepidation, embarrassment, emotional distress and mental anguish.
Bower seeks back salary and benefits, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, damages for assault and battery and attorney’s fees.
Bower demands a jury trial.
The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01587-PD.