A former executive assistant for Farash Corp. is suing the Rochester-based real estate company for sexual harassment. Susan Poulter claims she was fired without warning in June 2006, four months after she complained about inappropriate comments allegedly made by male executives.
Her lawsuit contends Matthew Aroesty, former president and chief executive, and Jerry Watkins, executive vice president, regularly made demeaning comments about women in Poulter’s presence, treating women “like a toy that could be passed around and shared.” One example: “I’m going out with an older woman, but I’d rather have her daughter.” Poulter contends Aroesty once commented that he wasn’t interested in a woman he had dated, and suggested Watkins could “have her,” the lawsuit says.
Aroesty has called the charges “totally baseless.” Neither he nor Watkins is still with Farash, which has said it will vigorously fight the charges.
Note: Avoid taking adverse actions against employees in the wake of complaints. If you need to demote or fire an employee who has filed recent complaints, make sure you can show well-documented business reasons for the action—reasons clearly unrelated to the complaint.
- When manager recommends firing subordinate, investigate to make sure bias isn't a factor
- Layoffs looming? OK to consider training participation when deciding who goes
- Steer clear of blanket hiring policies that stymie disabled applicants
- HR investigations must go beyond supervisor suggestions
- Tell supervisors: It's OK to criticize--even if employee has filed EEOC complaint