Photo Credit: Mike Mozart
Co-workers called the woman a “slut” and falsely claimed she “slept her way up the ladder,” according to the complaint filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Monday.
She was told by her supervisors to just ignore it and to “let it roll off [her] back.” She says it escalated after she complained, with her getting groped on the job. She also claims the stress of the ordeal have her a pituitary tumor, causing headaches and vision problems.
Samantha Kaag started working at the Berks County Home Depot as an associate in April of 2015, and was promoted to Lead Project Specialist within four weeks of being hired. According to the complaint, this drew the ire of her co-workers, show began writing sexually explicit messages directed at her on a bulletin board at work.
In the complaint, she claims the torment “significantly impacted [her] ability to do her work since she was responsible for training workers.”
She complained to her supervisors, but they failed to take corrective action and instead told her to ignore the harassment, according to the complaint. In fact, she says they cut her hours form 35 to 40 down to zero to six per week in retaliation.
One co-worker specifically began inappropriately touching her while she was working, and even drunkenly sent her sexually graphic text messages late in the evenings after work. This same employee repeatedly asked Kaag to go on dates with him, and again her supervisors told her to just ignore the issue, while refusing to discipline the harasser, the complaint states.
Eventually the so-worker involved his current girlfriend, who also began harassing Kaag. Exasperated, she called Home Depot’s anonymous hotline to report the harassment as well as two district managers, but according to the complaint, never heard back.
At this point she felt that if she continued to complain, she would be terminated since no investigation occurred and no remedial measures were taken, the complaint states.
“On or around June 22, 2016, [The Home Depot] constructively discharged [Kaag]. [The Home Depot] made conditions so onerous, abusive, and intolerable for [her] that no women in [her] shoes would have been expected to continue working under such conditions and such that [Kaag’s] choice to resign was void of choice or free will,” according to the complaint.
Kaag says that since her discharge, the former co-worker sent more than 70 text messages in one day, and continues to harass her while keeping his job at Home Depot, according to the complaint.
She now sues The Home Depot as well as three former co-workers who either harassed her or failed to take action after her complaints on seven counts, all discrimination and retaliation related. She seeks back and front pay, as well as punitive damages. The suit was filed on her behalf by attorney Samuel C. Wilson of the Derek Smith Law Group. Judge Edward G. Smith is set to preside.
The Home Depot’s public relations department did not return an email requesting comment.