Hostile work environment alleged in sexual harassment suit

Kelly Holleran Jun. 9, 2010, 9:12am

A Madison County woman has filed suit against a Granite City corporation and one of its managers, alleging the manager tried to coerce her into sleeping with him by threatening her life.

Christy French claims STL Distribution Services hired her as a part-time delivery assistant in March 2007.

Beginning in October 2007, French's manager, defendant Aaron Seward, allegedly started making sexual remarks and advances toward her and sent sexual text messages to her, according to the complaint filed June 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.

French repeatedly told Seward she was not interested in a sexual relationship with him, and Seward continued to form a hostile work environment for French, the complaint says.

By July 31, her work environment became so bad, French claims she was forced to take medical leave, but not before she complained to STL officers about Seward's behavior.

STL negligently failed to take appropriate steps to discover that Seward had engaged in a continuous pattern of sexual harassment, failed to take reasonable steps to determine that Seward's retention would present a continuing danger to females, allowed and permitted the continuance of sexual harassment and allowed and permitted the continuance of a hostile work environment, according to the complaint.

Because of Seward's actions and STL's refusal to punish him, French suffered embarrassment, humiliation and severe distress, lost her income and incurred medical costs, according to the complaint.

In her eight-count suit, French is seeking a judgment of more than $400,000 in punitive damages, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Dawna M. Hale of Mallon and Hale in Wood River and Greg Roosevelt of Roosevelt Law Office in Edwardsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-580.

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