Ex-clerk sues company over firing Suit says she had objected to sexual harassment

September 04, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore woman sued yesterday the Hanover construction supply company where she once worked, claiming she was denied a raise and then fired for complaining about being sexually harassed at a company-sponsored party.

Patricia Boycheck, 37, alleges in a $1 million suit filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court that she was fired last year by Number One Supply Corp. for "refusing to be sexually harassed without complaint."

The suit alleges that Boycheck, a billing clerk, and four other female employees were required to go to a party the company gave for a major customer on July 12, 1995.

The women were told ahead of time to be "good little hostesses," the suit says.

Once at the party, held at the company's offices in the 7400 block of Shipley Ave., Boycheck "was subjected to demeaning, inappropriate and crude behavior by the guests," the suit says.

The incidents culminated in a man's making lewd gestures and comments to her, according to the suit.

Boycheck left the party and later complained to her boss, Chip Bench, the company president, according to the suit.

Boycheck, who had been hired in April 1994, said she was told three weeks before the party that she was being promoted.

But she was told nine days after the party that she would not be getting an expected pay raise with the promotion because she was not a "team player," the suit says.

It also alleges that she was wrongfully terminated on Aug. 22, 1995, "in retaliation for her refusal to be sexually harassed without complaint."

Morton Edelstein, Boycheck's lawyer, said the four other women at the party also were subjected to harassment but that they may have not sued because they still work at the company or "for a variety of other personal reasons."

Bench referred questions to his lawyer, declining to comment other than to say that the allegations were "preposterous."

His lawyer also declined to comment.

The suit seeks $500,000 in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensatory damages for "emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment and stress."

Boycheck also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that investigates sexual harassment complaints.

Pub Date: 9/04/96

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