A leading resource for evaluating potential employers
Monday November 20th 2017

Insider

Archives

Dow AgroSciences and Jay Barlow sued for sexual harassment, pregnancy and sex discrimination

On November 7, 2014, Stefanie Crumrine filed a lawsuit against her former Iowa-based employers Dow AgroSciences, LLC, Agrigenetics, Inc., and her former boss, Jay Barlow.

Crumrine claims that she was subjected to sexual harassment as well as pregnancy, sex, and disability discrimination. Crumrine also alleges that she was paid less than other male employees who were in comparable positions.

The following is a summary of the allegations that Crumrine made in the complaint she filed in court:

Crumrine started working for the Defendants as a Warehouse Manager and Lab Supervisor in approximately July 2010. Production Leader Jay Barlow was Stefanie’s supervisor.

In approximately mid-2012, Crumrine began complaining to both Barlow and Plant Manager Zachary Maddox that she was being placed in danger by being forced to handle dangerous chemicals. Defendants allegedly took no action with respect to Crumrine’s complaints.

In approximately June 2012, Crumrine was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Crumrine told Barlow that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Barlow allegedly responded by saying, “Oh great” in a sarcastic and frustrated tone of voice. Barlow allegedly appeared to be concerned solely with how Crumrine’s cancer diagnosis might affect the Defendants.

In late August 2012, Crumrine learned she was pregnant. On September 6, Barlow allegedly called Crumrine a “stupid fucking woman.” On another occasion, Crumrine asked Barlow a question and he allegedly responded, “Why don’t you just suck my dick?”

Crumrine had previously experienced difficulties with pregnancy. When she explained her past complications to Barlow, he allegedly responded, “Oh, great. This kid isn’t going to be good for you.” Crumrine claims that Barlow repeatedly told her that she should look into taking leave from
work because he did not feel safe working with a pregnant woman.

Crumrine’s doctor restricted her from doing any lifting from October 29 through November 6, after which the lifting restriction was modified to anything over 20 pounds. Crumrine was still able to perform the essential duties of her Lab Supervisor position because the job did not require much lifting. Crumrine notified Barlow and Zachary Maddox of her restrictions.

After her lifting restriction was put in place, Barlow’s alleged attempts to discourage Crumrine from remaining employed became more frequent and forceful. She claims Barlow made comments such as: “You shouldn’t be here;” “I don’t want you here;” and “Other guys don’t feel safe with you on the forklift.”

Prior to going on bed rest for her pregnancy, Crumrine trained Jeff Fineran to perform her duties as Warehouse Manager in her absence. Crumrine gave birth to her daughter on May 21, 2013, after which she took six weeks of maternity leave. During her maternity leave Crumrine shared her concerns about her job and Barlow’s treatment of her with Lisa Brzozowski in Defendants’ Human Resources department. Defendants allegedly took no action with respect to Crumrine’s complaints.

Crumrine returned to work on July 1, 2013. Jeff Fineran informed Crumrine that he had taken over her position of Warehouse Manager. When Crumrine tried to discuss her apparent demotion with Barlow, he allegedly ignored her and refused to do so.

Crumrine found out that another employee had been promoted to a new office position while she was on leave. Prior to taking leave, Crumrine had expressed interested in this position and had actually started training for it. In fact, Stefanie had been attending classes at Iowa State University at Barlow’s request so that she could be promoted to this new job. When Crumrine asked Barlow why she was not promoted, he allegedly blamed her pregnancy and his own bias and preconceived notions against women who have recently becomes mothers, stating, “You have a new baby so you wouldn’t be able to travel as much.”

On July 5, Crumrine met with Tom Scagnoli, Barlow’s supervisor and the Soybean Production Leader. She reported Mr. Barlow’s alleged sexually harassing and discriminatory behavior, including the fact that he had stripped her of her Warehouse Manager job while she was on maternity leave. Mr. Scagnoli allegedly promised Crumrine he would report her concerns to Human Resources, but Crumrine claims that Defendants took no action with respect to her complaints.

On July 10, Crumrine again tried to speak with Barlow about her job. Barlow allegedly told Crumrine that he never should have hired her, and that she did not “have the frame for the job.” He allegedly told her, “Like it or not, it’s a man’s world.” Crumrine claims that Barlow told her that her new job was to be a “floater,” meaning she would move around and assist whoever needed help. When Crumrine protested the demotion, Barlow allegedly replied, “Do you want my fucking job?”

Barlow allegedly expressed his hostility toward Crumrine for reporting his conduct to Tom Scagnoli, and she claims Barlow said he could fire her for insubordination as a result of that report. Barlow also allegedly stated that he had written Crumrine up during her maternity leave for improperly training an employee.

Crumrine claims that she learned that Defendants were paying Jeff Fineran more as Warehouse Manager than she had been paid prior to her demotion to “floater,” when she was performing both the Warehouse Manager job and the Lab Supervisor job.

In early September, Crumrine reported Barlow’s alleged sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation; along with her allegations of dangerous working conditions to Human Resources employees Lisa Brozozowski and Laverne Thompson. Ms. Brozozowski and Mr. Thompson allegedly refused to listen to Crumrine’s concerns about the chemicals. They only wanted to discuss her demotion.

On approximately October 1, Ms. Brozozowski allegedly informed Crumrine that Defendants had determined her complaints were unfounded. Ms. Brozozowski then allegedly accused Crumrine of being rude to her coworkers.

On approximately October 2, Crumrine was sent to inspect fields in Missouri with Jeff Fineran. Throughout the car ride back from Missouri, Crumrine claims that Mr. Fineran discussed sexually graphic topics such as his own masturbation, sexual habits with his wife, and pornography. Crumrine was extremely uncomfortable and claims that she tried to change the subject numerous times.

The next day, Crumrine reported Jeff Fineran’s alleged sexual harassment to Lisa Brozozowski and said that she did not feel comfortable working with him. Ms. Brozozowski and Ms. Thompson allegedly agreed that Fineran’s conduct was inappropriate and they promised to investigate. About 30 minutes later, Ms. Brozozowski and Ms. Thompson called Crumrine, stated that Mr. Fineran had admitted to making the sexual comments, but said he did not know he had crossed a line.

Ms. Brozozowski and Ms. Thompson allegedly explained that Mr. Fineran wanted to apologize her, but that he would not be disciplined. They also allegedly advised Crumrine to just keep quiet about the incident.

On approximately October 21, Defendant Barlow allegedly told Crumrine that she was a “liability to the company” because she had complained about his behavior to Human Resources. On the same day, Crumrine again complained to Zachary Maddox about the alleged dangerous working conditions to which she was subjected when she had to power wash chemicals.

Later that day, Crumrine claims she was called into a meeting with Mr. Maddox and Barlow. Barlow allegedly told Stefanie that her work ethic had never been questioned, but that he was upset that she had reported him to Human Resources.

Barlow allegedly accused Crumrine of lying about Jeff Fineran’s sexual comments and stated that it was only a matter of time before she accused other employees of sexual harassment.

Crumrine responded that Barlow’s comments felt like a “slap in the face,” to which Barlow allegedly responded, “Just like you turning me into HR?” Barlow allegedly said that he wanted back “the Stefanie that was here last year at this time, before she started turning everything in to HR.”

Barlow allegedly said he did not know if he was going to fire her or not and would let Crumrine know by the end of the day. Barlow allegedly repeated how angry he was that Crumrine told Human Resources what he had said about her baby not being good for her and claimed she had lied about him making the statement.

When Crumrine stated that she had not lied, Barlow allegedly replied, “You just made up my mind. Turn in your keys and leave the property.” Thus, Defendants fired Crumrine on October 21, 2013.

According to the complaint, Defendants have deliberately sabotaged Crumrine’s search for replacement employment. For example, Barlow allegedly told a potential employer that Defendants had “many issues” with Crumrine and that she “really stirred things up – even getting human resources involved.” Barlow also allegedly cautioned a potential employer not to hire Crumrine “because she has three kids.”

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

Dow AgroSciences and Jay Barlow sued for sexual harassment, pregnancy and sex discrimination
2 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)