A new lawsuit filed by Jim Garrity against the Leon County, Florida School Board today alleges that a school bus driver was repeatedly sexually harassed by her male supervisor, and became the target of retaliation by other supervisors for reporting it. She was eventually forced to quit after supervisors cut her pay and took away and on-bus assistant to punish her for speaking out against the harassment.
Our client, a 32-year-old mother of two children, began experiencing sexual harassment just a few months after she began driving her route. She rejected her male supervisor’s advances every time, but he grew even more aggressive. As she complained, she heard comments from other supervisors that he was known to engage in this kind of behavior and that she should just ignore it. But she feared for her safety and for her life, and continued to speak out. No one helped her.
The lawsuit filed today outlines just some of the behavior to which she was subjected [Warning: The allegations that follow, drawn from the court papers, are graphic.]. It alleges that her supervisor told her that her lip gloss aroused him and made him “want to f*** her,” that he forcibly grabbed her and kissed her, and that he would stalk her and leer at her in a sexually aggressive way. The lawsuit also details an incident where the supervisor showed up unexpectedly on a bus she was to drive and then assaulted her, tearing her clothes in the process:
“[The supervisor also] battered her on a school board vehicle, on an occasion where [she] was told that she would be riding a bus with another female bus driver. Instead, when she got on the bus, rather than meeting with the female employee, she shockingly encountered Jones. Jones immediately closed the door to the bus and blocked her ability to leave. Jones then drove off to another compound. When they arrived, [she] got off and tried to get onto the bus she was to pick up. However, Jones refused to give her keys to the other bus, again preventing her from leaving. [She] then tried to call for help using the radio on the bus driven by Jones but Jones took steps to stop her. As [she] was attempting to escape, Jones blocked her exit, and threw her down on a bus seat. Jones told her that “if you let me lick on your breast and suck on you I won’t beat you up.” He then ripped [her] shirt and [assaulted her on her] face, neck, and breast. She told him to stop. He refused and continued. At one point during the attack, Jones said that “if you let me touch your [*******] I’ll let you go.” That same day, [she] reported this incident to the school board’s interim assistant supervisor. [The supervisor] told her that she would follow up, and that [she] should go home and write a report. The supervisor also warned [her], “don’t go to the police because then it’s out of my hands.” It was a clear threat of retaliation.
Witnesses in the case will begin undergoing cross-examination under oath in the next thirty days. Our office has demanded substantial financial compensation, including lost income (past and future), pain and suffering damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and other relief. The case is expected to proceed to trial later this year.
Have You Been Subjected to Similar Conduct?
If you’ve been subjected to similar behavior, or know someone who has, please call us for a free and confidential consultation about your rights. You can reach us anytime of the day or night at 800-663-7999. No one should ever have to endure such horrific conduct, and there are powerful laws that give you substantial rights under the circumstances.