Sexual Harassment Labor Lawsuit Brought Against Salvation Army

By Peter Levine posted in Employment Law, Law, Sexual Harassment on November 22nd, 2013

Human Resources Assistant Alleges Sexual Harassment While Working at Salvation Army

Kimberlea Rhea, bookkeeper and human resources assistant at The Salvation Army since March 2006 is alleges sexual harassment while working for the nonprofit organization.

According to court documents the California labor law lawsuit seeking damages of $1 million, as well as compensatory damages names both The Salvation Army and one of its captains as defendants.

The suit claims one of The Salvation Army’s captains repeatedly approached Rhea asking for her home address. And even though she refused to give him her address, she later saw the captain driving by her home. He then continued, asking for hugs and kisses on the cheek, commenting that she “looked hot” while suggestively looking at her body. Allegedly the situation quickly escalated to the point where the captain talked to Rea about his sex life, inappropriately touched her and followed her around the office.

Complaint of Sexual Harassment Originally Ignored

During December 2012 Rea complained to supervisors about the captains actions but no action was taken. Eventually in February 2013, after even further instances of harassment, the captain was moved to a different section.

At the time, Rea felt humiliated, degraded, embarrassed, and losing sleep as a result of the captain’s actions.

Rea was reportedly told by The Salvation Army that some of her complaints were supported by its investigation and that she was not found to be responsible for the captain’s behavior. Her job reviews had been favorable, including praise for being “a valuable employee.”

The lawsuit alleges Rea was never given a public apology by The Salvation Army, nor were her claims ever publicly acknowledged. She was even told by the corporation they would prefer she simply leave her position.

Furthermore, The Salvation Army’s zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment akin to the captain’s conduct meant that he should have been immediately fired for his actions. Instead, The Salvation Army publicly alluded to his transfer as a reward for a “job well done.” Meanwhile Rhea has been subjected to critical remarks and comments regarding her job performance.

“TSA [The Salvation Army] never provided Rea with a written confirmation of its findings or what actions would be taken to prevent future harassment from occurring,” the lawsuit states. “Rea concluded TSA wanted to merely appease Rea while maintaining a public persona that there was no problem within TSA concerning sexual harassment.”

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation

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