Female Sewer Maintenance Worker’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Below and here is the complaint recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York by sewer maintenance worker Lisa Sprada against her employer, the Town of Cheektowaga. (News coverage here and here.) The case is captioned Sprada v. Town of Cheektowaga, WDNY 13-00985.

Plaintiff alleges that upon transferring into her position, the male employees said “oh great, another broad” and that she was thereafter routinely subjected to degrading sexual comments.

Example allegations, from her complaint;

13. In the Sewer Maintenance Department, the women’s restroom is upstairs, adjacent to the foreman’s office. Whenever Ms. Sprada went upstairs, the men asked her if she was going to “spit or swallow,” implying that she was going to perform oral sex on the foreman while she was upstairs.

14. On her way up to the women’s restroom, the men would hand her a glass to “spit into” or a napkin to “wipe her mouth,” furthering the implication that Ms. Sprada had performed oral sex on the foreman. Sometimes the men would give her a choice between taking the glass or the napkin, asking, “Do you want this or this?”

15. Within a month or two of transferring to the position of Sewer Maintenance Worker, Ms. Sprada spoke to Supervisor Latshaw about the men’s comments when she went to the restroom. In response, Supervisor Latshaw laughed and said that the comments insinuating that anyone who went upstairs was going to perform oral sex on the managers was a “long standing joke.”

Plaintiff also claims that defendant retaliated against her for complaining about the hostile work environment by, for example, forcing her to participate (without counsel) in a deposition as part of defendant’s investigation of her complaints, and falsely accusing her of engaging in sexual harassment.

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