The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Missouri-based Comprehensive Human Services, Inc., also known as True North, Inc, which provides shelter for women who have been victims of domestic violence.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Nancy Gause and Tracie Lawson, who were co-directors of the shelter at the time, alerted the President and Vice-President of the Board of Directors that shelter director, Leigh Voltmer, had touched staff members inappropriately on several occasions. Voltmer was the highest-ranking employee at the shelter. Gause complained on behalf of staff members whom she supervised.
Within two weeks of complaining about the discrimination, Lawson was demoted and her salary cut, and Gause was fired. Both women had received positive feedback regarding their performance during their tenure as employees, but were terminated without warning allegedly for poor performance.
“An organization that purports to shield women from abuse should be particularly sensitive to the fact that women must be allowed to work in an environment devoid of sexual harassment. When employees come forward to try to eradicate this behavior, they should be supported, not retaliated against,” said Barbara A. Seely, Regional Attorney of the St. Louis District.