A former employee of Harley-Davidson Motor Co. is suing the York, Pa.
business over claims that his termination in the spring of 2013 came in retaliation for his complaining about sexual harassment.
Jeff Wilt, a Gettysburg, Pa., resident who began his employment as a buffer for the defendant in early December 2012, claims in his civil action that his April 25, 2013, firing for alleged safety concerns – he is a diabetic and his blood sugar was running high at the time – was actually a pretext to mask the true reason for his ouster, that he complained about sexual harassment.
Issues started in March and April of last year, when a coworker identified as Jerry Gilbert, who is not named as a defendant in the complaint, made “repeated and daily” sexually offensive remarks to the plaintiff about one of Wilt’s female coworkers.
The comments, which were repeated over a several-week period last spring, involved the plaintiff being accused of having a sexual relationship with the female employee, according to the lawsuit.
Wilt eventually complained about the harassment to human resource representatives.
The plaintiff was eventually told to “deal with it” and was instructed to “go back to work,” the suit says.
Wilt was also informed that “reliable sources” said that he had planted drugs on his coworkers in a bid to have them arrested, according to the complaint.
The plaintiff, the suit says, was “shocked” by the “seemingly bizarre accusation about planting drugs,” and he asked that the employee who made the accusation be named so he could confront the accuser.
Wilt never got that chance, however, since he was terminated from his position in late April of last year.
“The defendant’s proffered reasons for termination was false and pretext to mask the true reason for plaintiff’s termination,” the lawsuit states. “The true reason for plaintiff’s termination was retaliation for complaining of sexual harassment.”
The defendant is accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Wilt seeks lost pay and benefits, an unspecified amount of compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering, unspecified punitive damages, attorney’s fees, interest and costs.
The suit was filed at the U.S. District Court in Harrisburg on Monday by Philadelphia attorney Samuel A. Dion of the firm Dion & Goldberger.
The federal case number is 1:14-cv-00666-CCC.