Sexual harassment case against Hayden rejected

July 06, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has rejected a former secretary's charges that the Baltimore County Executive sexually harassed her in 1992 and finally forced her to resign.

The brief ruling, received July 1 by the county office of law, declares that the investigation produced no evidence that Niculina V. Robinson's complaints of poor treatment at work resulted from any rejection of sexual advances by Mr. Hayden, or that she was removed from her position and forced to resign.

The finding by EEOC area director Gloria L. Underwood said Mrs. Robinson's charges were "untimely," having been filed in September 1993, some 11 months after the alleged incident that sparked the charges.

Mrs. Robinson, 43, of Joppatowne criticized the finding and the investigation yesterday but said she has not decided whether to pursue her complaint with a civil suit.

"I was very surprised," she said of the outcome. "They never interviewed me, and some county workers were afraid to speak."

She said is not backing off her allegations that Mr. Hayden made advances to her, then began to mistreat her after she rejected him.

"You had to be in my position, to go though what I did with him in that office. It was horrible," she said yesterday.

Mrs. Robinson still can pursue the issue in court, but the finding likely would weaken her case.

Mr. Hayden, who is out of work while recuperating from brain surgery, issued a written comment on the finding.

"From the beginning I've said these allegations were unfounded and that eventually I would be vindicated. I'm obviously pleased with the result and glad to put this issue behind us," he said.

The case became public in February, when Mrs. Robinson announced her charges and revealed that she had filed an EEOC complaint.

Originally hired by the county in 1988, when family friend Dennis F. Rasmussen was county executive, Mrs. Robinson stayed on after Mr. Rasmussen's 1990 election defeat and became executive secretary to the new county executive, Mr. Hayden, in July 1991.

She left that post on Feb. 11, 1993, the day her husband Tom was laid off along with 392 other county workers. She never returned to her county position and resigned the next August.

In her EEOC complaint, she charged that Mr. Hayden made a pass at her in his office in September 1992, which she rejected out of hand. She said he then began treating her poorly, ridiculed her repeatedly in front of other staff members and gradually took away most of her duties. Her husband's layoff, she said, was the last straw.

Other county workers have said that the relationship between Mr. Hayden and Mrs. Robinson appeared to change dramatically around fall 1992 but no one knew why.

Mr. Hayden, who is facing a strong re-election challenge this year, has consistently denied Mrs. Robinson's charges, calling them an an attempt to damage him politically in retaliation for the layoffs.

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