A sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuit was filed on Thursday against Mississippi’s Washington County and Sheriff Milton Gaston.
Former sheriff’s deputy Markeida B. Redfield claims that she was subjected to sex discrimination and “disparate treatment” vis-a-vis her male coworkers in retaliation for rejecting the “sexual advances of her boss, Sheriff Milton Gaston.”
Gaston allegedly made sexual advances towards Redfield starting at a Christmas party in 2007. Redfield claims that Gaston repeatedly requested that she meet with him in various locations, that he tried to kiss her during one of these meetings, and that Gaston repeatedly told Redfield that he loved her.
Redfield claims that she felt compelled to meet with Gaston because he was her boss and she “feared repercussions if she did not” meet with him.
After rejecting one of Gaston’s alleged sexual advances in early 2009, Redfield claims that she was assigned to the night shift despite Gaston allegedly telling her when she was first hired that she would not work the night shift.
On another occasion after allegedly rejecting another of Gaston’s sexual advances, Redfield started receiving shifts in unfavorable locations at the far extremes of Washington County.
Since she was hired as a road deputy in February 2005, Redfield claims that she consistently requested a promotion and an increase in rank but never received a promotion in the seven years that she worked for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
Redfield’s male counterparts allegedly “fared much better when it came to promotions and inter-departmental transfers.” Redfield claims that six of her male colleagues who were hired as road deputies in 2008-2012 have already received promotions.
According to the complaint, in February 2013, Redfield “told Gaston enough was enough. Gaston had stated that he loved her and he wanted to get with her. [Redfield] stated she was not interested and Gaston told her to ‘f*ck off.'”
In March 2013, Redfield was fired “due to the years of overlooked advancements, hostile treatment, sexual harassment, and mental anguish.”