VENTURA, Calif. (CN) - The CEO of Ventura County's Medi-Cal Commission spanked a secretary, felt her up with his toes, and when she complained, an HR administrator told her, "I can see why this would be exciting to you," the secretary claims in court.
Audra Lucas sued the Ventura County Managed Medi-Cal Care Commission, its CEO Earl Greenia, and Regional Government Services, a public entity, in Ventura County Court.
She claims that Greenia's harassment was so severe it made her vomit.
It's not the first go-round for these defendants, who were sued in December for allegedly mismanaging $1 million in taxpayer money and firing whistleblowers.
Lucas seeks damages from Greenia for sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and assault and battery.
The commission, dba Gold Coast Health Plan, is managed by Regional Government Services. Lucas accuses them of failure to prevent harassment, negligence, and vicarious liability for her complaints against Greenia.
Regional Government Services hired Lucas as an administrative assistant in January 2011. Gold Coast HR director Candice Limousin - one of the plaintiff-whistleblowers who claimed to have been fired by Greenia - and Greenia himself interviewed Lucas for the position.
In her complaint, Lucas says that at first she and Greenia enjoyed a purely professional relationship, as Greenia appeared to take an interest in her career goals. But Greenia's questions became more personal, "more directed toward her appearance, her personal life and her romantic relationships and less about her professional goals," according to the complaint.
"During this time, Lucas began to notice that Greenia would fixate on her and 'check her out.' For example, she would notice him staring at her legs if she were sitting down across from him. He would make comments to her about her clothing, such as 'that dress looks good on you' or 'you should wear dresses more often.' Lucas did not tell Greenia that these comments made her feel uncomfortable because she was fearful of losing her job," Lucas says in her complaint.
Lucas says Greenia's behavior toward her progressed to "joking" - unprofessional comments about other employees - in which she participated, at first, because she didn't want to be rude. But by July 2011, she was concerned that Greenia had become "too involved with her on a personal level," according to the complaint.
"During this time Greenia told Lucas on more than one occasion that if she was not so 'hot' he would have fired her for missing work. Additionally, Greenia's comments became more sexual in nature. Between July 2011 and March 2012, Greenia began to outwardly flirt with Lucas and make comments to Lucas that made her feel uncomfortable. Greenia would brush up against Lucas or touch her knee in conversation. Greenia would make comments about his desire to 'role play' with Lucas. He wanted to play the boss role and asked Lucas to refer to him as 'Boss' or 'Sir.' He referred to Lucas as 'Secretary.' When requesting coffee from Lucas, he would say he wanted it 'blonde, sweet and strong' (referring to Lucas). When Greenia flirted or made sexually suggestive comments to Lucas, she would remind him that he was married and try to change the subject. She also tried to avoid situations where she would be alone with Greenia," Lucas claims. (Parentheses in complaint.)