Former secretary Margaret Shields filed the lawsuit in December 2009 after allegedly being subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by Hatter and other Sheriff’s employees.
Shields claims that Hatter and other employees exchanged sexually offensive photos and text messages on their cellphones in 2007, and that she was shown sexually explicit photos that were displayed in the Sumter County Sheriff’s office.
According to the complaint, Shields complained to Hatter about the hostile work environment, but he allegedly did not take action to stop the sexual harassment.
Shields, who had worked as Hatter’s secretary since 2000, was fired in August 2007 after she took a medical leave of absence.
This is the second time that Hatter has been named in a sexual harassment lawsuit. In June 2009, a federal jury returned a $2.4 million verdict against Hatter after finding that Hatter offered a promotion to a Sumter County dispatcher in exchange for phone sex.
The jury also found that Hatter, who served as sheriff from 1994 until 2011, fired the dispatcher and another employee in retaliation for cooperating with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation when the bureau investigated the phone sex allegations.
[Image: Flickr user swanksalot]