ASHEVILLE, N.C. (CN) – A hospital technician says she was fired after she rejected her supervisor’s repeated sexual advances and gave the hospital a recording to substantiate her complaints. The day after the hospital listened to the recording, she says, her boss killed himself.
Stephanie Crockett sued Mission Hospital and the Estate of Harry Kemp in Buncombe County Court.
Crockett says that after she received her first “unfavorable evaluation” in 2009, her supervisor, Kemp, told her that “he had given her a favorable evaluation but that his supervisor had changed it.”
Crockett says she reported this to the hospital’s Human Resources office, which questioned Kemp, who “denied making this statement to the plaintiff, and as a result, the plaintiff was given a final written warning for misrepresentation of facts.”
After she got the final warning, Crockett says, Kemp took her into a hospital room and told her “that he had to check her for a wire and asked her to lift her shirt.” Crockett refused, and Kemp asked to frisk her, which she also refused, she says.
She says Kemp told her next that he was going to “strip down to his shorts,” but she asked him not to. She says Kemp led her to believe that “her continued employment was contingent on her complying with his request,” so eventually she lifted her shirt for him.
Then Crockett told her “she would have to lift her bra,” and “she quickly did so,” according to the complaint. After these unusual doings, Crockett says, Kemp told her “that he had information that would prevent her from being fired but he did not provide her with any information that she did not already have.”
After an hour of this, Kemp said, “let’s seal it with a kiss,” and “forcibly kissed her on the cheek,” against her protests, and asked her for another kiss, Crockett says. She refused the request, but he tried to kiss her on the mouth anyway, which she dodged by “rapidly turn[ing] her head away and he kissed her right cheek again,” according to the complaint.
Kemp approached her twice more that day and asked to kiss again, she says. One time he “grabbed the plaintiff by her upper arms, came extremely close to her face and attempted to kiss her again,” but Crockett says she “kept her head down while he was pulling her by the arms around the room.”
Still later the same day, Kemp said, “we have bonded tonight haven’t we?” to which Crockett replied, “no we haven’t,” according to the complaint.
Crockett, who suffers from a medical condition, says she had to have a blood transfusion after all this because her condition was activated by the stress. She also had to miss two days of work.
When she returned, she carried a recorder in her pocket “because of her fear that her supervisor would initiate another incident in an attempt to get her fired from her employment,” say says.
Crockett says she learned that Kemp had “reported that he had observed her using a cell phone in violation of Mission policy, that she had asked him not to turn her in for doing so and that she had lifted up her shirt in the hallway.”
She says hospital bosses questioned her about Kemp’s charges, which she denied, and told them that Kemp had done something “horrific” to her one night, but did not go into details because her attorney had told her not to.
Crockett says she was placed on suspension while the hospital investigated her claims, and Kemp’s, and when she returned on March 8, 2010, she was denied multiple requests to change shifts, and/or not be required to work under Kemp.
On March 17, 2010, Crockett says, she provided the hospital with the digital recorder she had brought with her to work.
She says she met the next day with hospital representatives, who said they had listened to the recording.
Kemp died the next day at his home of a gunshot wound to his head, the complaint states. She says the hospital then told her to take three days leave with pay, but when she returned to work on March 24, she was fired.
Crockett wants Mission Hospital enjoined from “maintaining a sexually hostile work environment and any other employment practice which discriminates on the basis of sex,” and ordered to “institute and carry out policies, practices and programs which provide equal employment opportunities for women.”
She also seeks compensation for pecuniary losses and emotional injuries, and punitive damages for sex discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation.
She is represented by George Moore of Asheville.