A former employee of the Lumbee Indian Tribe is suing the tribe, alleging her former boss sexually assaulted her and subjected her to severe sexual harassment. The woman, former winner of the tribe’s beauty pageant, worked for the tribal housing authority.
She claims that after she was assaulted, the tribal chairman fired her for filing a complaint. She had previously filed suit in state court against the supervisor and the chairman, alleging, battery, infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
Now she has filed a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC, with charges against both men and the Lumbee Tribe. The supervisor has denied any wrongdoing and neither the chairman nor the tribe have commented on the charges.
The state case will move toward a possible trial, while the EEOC will investigate the woman’s claims to determine whether discrimination likely occurred. At that point, the commission will attempt to resolve the dispute through its conciliation process.
If those efforts fail, the woman may pursue her case in federal court.
Note: If the allegations are true, the tribe only compounded its problems by not investigating the charges. Cover-ups and retaliation only build an employee’s case. Deal with the charges professionally and directly to minimize liability.