A Broomall, Pa. woman who claims she had to leave her job as sales representative for a Collegeville, Pa.-based company that specializes in the manufacture of cable and electrical wire because of pervasive sexual harassment has filed a federal civil rights complaint against her former employer.
Blue Bell, Pa. attorney Andrew S. Abramson filed the civil action March 20 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Jennifer Bell.
The defendant named in the lawsuit is Allied Wire & Cable, Inc.
According to the complaint, Bell, who worked for the defendant from June 2010 through August 2011, was continually harassed by the company’s vice president of sales.
The married supervisor, identified in the lawsuit as Tony Spina, would often make “repeated inappropriate sexual comments and engaged in sexual innuendo and inappropriate physical contact” with Bell, actions that eventually led her to leave her job after experiencing stress and anxiety connected to the alleged treatment.
“Vice President Spina’s actions made Plaintiff Bell feel extremely upset and uncomfortable in and out of the workplace,” the lawsuit states.
In addition to verbal comments and physical touching, Spina also repeatedly sent Bell offensive emails and text messages, the suit claims.
The lawsuit claims that Spina’s sexual harassment at the workplace was not limited to Bell.
Prior to Bell’s hiring, Allied executives, managers and employees “observed and had knowledge of Spina’s practice of engaging in inappropriate verbal and written comments of a sexual nature and sexual innuendo towards young females,” the lawsuit states.
On Aug. 30, 2011, after returning from vacation, Bell was experiencing problems relating to customer orders, at which time Spina allegedly insinuated that Bell should engage in a sexual act with him, according to the complaint.
It was at this point that Bell, who was once invited to join the company’s exclusive President’s Club, a special recognition for top sales employees, told Spina that she could no longer work for the company due to the constant harassment.
“The severe and pervasive sexually hostile work environment which Vice President Spina created made it impossible for Plaintiff Bell to continue to work for Defendant Allied, causing the constructive termination [of] her employment,” the lawsuit states.
The complaint accuses Allied of failing to address a “know sexual harasser” and providing a work environment in which it was “impossible” for Bell to carry out her professional duties.
“Defendant Allied’s failure to address the inappropriate behavior of Vice President Spina, a high-ranking executive, prior to the commencement of Plaintiff Bell’s employment created a situation in which Allied condoned sexual harassment,” the suit states.
The lawsuit, which alleges civil rights violations, contains counts of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and hostile work environment.
Bell seeks damages exceeding $150,000, plus back pay, pre-judgment interest, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other costs.
Bell is seeking a jury trial.
The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01402-SD.