Car dealer faces sexual harassment suit O'Donnell Pontiac named in action

November 06, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Carroll County woman is suing an Ellicott City car dealership and its former general manager, claiming that she was sexually harassed and discriminated against while working there.

Hannelore S. Traynor of Taneytown is seeking $6 million in

damages from O'Donnell Pontiac Inc. and David Piel of Elkridge in a suit filed in Howard Circuit Court on Oct. 28.

Ms. Traynor, 37, contends in the suit that Mr. Piel sexually harassed her repeatedly while she was a sales manager at the company's O'Donnell Honda dealership between December 1990 and July 1991.

Ms. Traynor was fired after complaining that she had a lower salary than her male counterparts, the suit states.

Kathleen Cahill, a Baltimore attorney representing Ms. Traynor, said the case is similar to other harassment and discrimination suits filed by women who work in male-dominated settings.

"It's still shocking, and it's still reprehensible," said Ms. Cahill.

Mr. Piel, of the 7900 block of Butterfield Drive, said he did not receive a copy of the suit, and he declined to make any further comment. Thomas O'Donnell, spokesman for the car dealership, did not return several phone calls.

Ms. Traynor contends in the suit that she was subjected to "unwanted sexually explicit and lewd comments, unwanted touching and unwanted demands for sex" by Mr. Piel, who was her supervisor.

Mr. Piel's conduct interfered with her work performance and created an "intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment," the suit states.

"[Mr.] Piel undertook the acts alleged without legal justification or excuse, with an evil motive influenced by hatred or spite, for the ++ purpose of willfully injuring the plaintiff," the suit says.

Ms. Traynor contends in the suit that O'Donnell Honda knew about the harassment but took no steps to stop the conduct or change the working environment.

The suit charges that Mr. Piel harassed other women at the dealership, but it provides no details of those incidents.

Ms. Cahill said she is not sure how many women had been allegedly harassed, but noted that information will be learned as the case progresses.

Throughout her employment at the dealership, the suit said, Ms. Traynor was paid less than her male counterparts even though they did the same kind of work.

Ms. Cahill declined to comment on the salaries but noted that her client received a lower percentage for commissions.

Ms. Traynor is asking the court to schedule a jury trial for the case.

It has been assigned to Circuit Judge Raymond Kane, but no proceedings have been scheduled.

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