3rd woman sues State Farm alleging sexual harassment

January 20, 2010|By Nick Madigan | nick.madigan@baltsun.com

A third Baltimore woman has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against State Farm Insurance Co. and one of its agents, Obie A. Sorrell, alleging that he sexually harassed her in the Randallstown office where they worked.

Thomasine Price says she was subjected to crude behavior, insults and sexual propositions by Sorrell since shortly after she was hired a year ago. In November, two other women made similar allegations against Sorrell in a lawsuit filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

According to the new suit, the trouble for Price began on Jan. 26, 2009, when an intoxicated Sorrell made sexually offensive comments to a group of female employees. After a similar incident later, Price says she told Sorrell that his comments were inappropriate. She says he replied, "My name is outside this building and I can say what I want."

Price says she received pornographic e-mails from Sorrell and that his behavior got worse the more he drank. According to the lawsuit, Sorrell was "constantly intoxicated" and kept liquor in his office and in a bathroom. Price, who says that Sorrell also kept a handgun in his office, quit her job on March 13, 2009, saying she could no longer work in such a hostile environment because it was making her physically and emotionally ill.

Neither Sorrell nor a State Farm spokeswoman could be reached Tuesday for comment.

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