Court records indicate that the two remaining plaintiffs in an age discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Pittsburgh-based Maronda Homes Inc. have reached an out-of-court settlement. Three other plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against the company.
The five original plaintiffs, who ranged in age from 38 to 63, alleged that Chad Johannesen, the division manager and vice president of Maronda’s Ocala, Florida office, created a hostile work environment by hiring younger saleswomen after forcing out older saleswomen, using derogatory terms such as “[expletive] old bitch” and making sexually suggestive gestures and comments in the office.
Arthur Klawitter, a former vice president of construction for the company, also was named in the 20-count lawsuit. He was accused by one plaintiff of making frequent references to his sexual organ in front of female employees, expressing his desire for sexual relations with female employees, and insinuating that certain female realtors performed sexual acts with clients in order to keep their jobs and sell homes.
The women claim they were either terminated out of retaliation for voicing their objections to these behaviors or forced to quit due to the increasingly hostile nature of the workplace. The plaintiffs had each filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations. Those agencies declined to take action, but advised the women of their rights to sue.
Chad Johannesen had aspired to be the Republican nominee to the Florida House of Representatives. He has since withdrawn his candidacy for the 22nd District seat.