MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities woman says a man she sat next to at work sexually harassed her for months.
Kathy is now suing Det-Tronics, a manufacturing company based in Bloomington. She says her bosses didn’t do enough to get the man to stop.
Kathy, who asked we not use her last name, started on the assembly line at Det-Tronics five years ago. Two years in, she was seated next to a man who would change the course of her career.
Her lawsuit against the company lays out nearly a year of what she says went on. Shifts where she says she was touched in a sexual and violent manner by the man sitting next to her.
“It happened almost like every day,” Kathy said.
While assembling smoke detectors at Det-Tronics, Kathy says the man would grab and squeeze her thighs and rub and fondle her shoulders. And when she stood up, she says he would often grab her buttocks and pull her hair.
“You can feel somebody pull your hair so hard because your head is leaning back,” Kathy said.
She says it took a couple of months, but she finally reported him.
“At that time I was a temp. I’m afraid I was going to lose my job,” she said.
Kathy says her supervisors did nothing. One even asked that she give him another chance.
In an affidavit, a night supervisor said he witnessed two other women working as temps being touched in similar ways by the same man. That supervisor described him as a sexual molester, and when his boss did nothing, the supervisor was so disturbed he said, “I’m not even sure I can return to work.”
Since a lawsuit has been filed, Det-Tronics said no one would comment on camera. Senior Marketing Communications Manager Katherine Boosalis released this statement:
“We take employee concerns very seriously and expect all employees to treat one another with respect.
All reported concerns are fully investigated and appropriate actions are taken.
We cannot speak to individual personnel issues and it is not appropriate for us to comment regarding ongoing litigation.”
Michael Healey, an employment law attorney, is representing Kathy.
“I was a little shocked because I knew very early on that not only was this man touching her, but there were witnesses,” Healey said.
He says it took 11 months for the company’s human resources department to get involved and move the man away from Kathy. That man still works at Det-Tronics.
Kathy was given a full-time job four months after first reporting what was going on.
She’s telling her story now with the hope it gets others to come forward if their colleagues have crossed the line.
“Don’t be afraid, you know, just stand up,” she said. “Speak the truth.”
Kathy’s case likely won’t go to trial until next year. There is a state agency that investigates sexual harassment complaints.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filed anywhere from 50 to 100 charges of sexual harassment in the last five years.