A Vancouver, WA employee of a Lowe’s Home Improvement store was followed into the women’s restroom of the NE 76th Street location by a male supervisor. There, according to records filed with the court, he began kissing, groping and sexually assaulting the female employee. This followed two weeks of unwanted sexual advances by Brandon B. Riggan, in which he is alleged to have indicated that he was married but “open to having a mistress”. Police records also indicated that Riggan came to the store when he was not on shift and followed Elyse Moreton as she attended to her duties. Among those duties was training Riggan, who had been hired as a head cashier.
After numerous lewd comments, Moreton reported the unwanted advances to another head cashier, who acknowledged Riggan’s comments were inappropriate but never reported the situation to her superiors. Moreton also told Riggan directly that she wasn’t interested in him. “No matter what I’d say to him, it would never register,” she said in an interview with the Vancouver Columbian.
In the lawsuit that was filed in Clark County Superior Court, Moreton claimed that management failed to protect her. As a result of the subsequent assault, Moreton alleges that she “suffered damages in the nature of lost wages and benefits; past and future medical expenses; and pain, suffering and mental anguish.” She is seeking unspecified damages against defendants Lowe’s HIW Inc. and Riggan. The case is scheduled for trial on October 25.
After the sexual assault, Riggan reportedly threatened Moreton if she reported the incident. Moreton alerted a store manager and called her parents, who instructed her to call 911. Sheriff’s deputies responded and arrested Riggan that night at his home. He was later sentenced to four years in prison by Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson on April 14, 2009.
Moreton hasn’t worked at Lowe’s since the attack. A worker’s compensation claim was filed, and Moreton said she’s still receiving psychiatric treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is her hope that her lawsuit will send a message to other employees and employers as well. “Someone once asked me, ‘Why are you mad at Lowe’s for something Brandon did?’” She said, “I’m mad at Lowe’s because they didn’t provide a safe environment.”