Worker Says Sex Demands Never Stopped

     SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – A public transit worker was “required” to sexually service a boss, and when she complained to higher-ups she was told “boys will be boys,” and demoted, the woman claims in court.
     Traci Endow sued Utah Transit Authority and three of her supervisors – Brett DeMille, Frank Cosens and Richard Castleberry – in Federal Court.
     Only DeMille is accused of demanding sexual services.
     Endow claims the Transit Authority hired her as a “coach cleaner” in 2008, and promoted her to maintenance in 2009.
     “Defendant DeMille was a coworker of plaintiff from September 2009 to the spring of 2011,” Endow says in the lawsuit. “During that time, defendant DeMille exhibited considerable sexual aggression toward plaintiff, including touching her sexually and cupping his genitals through his clothing while making comments like ‘see what you do to me’ and ‘I just can’t help it.’ Plaintiff repeatedly expressed to defendant DeMille that she was not interested in a relationship and asked him to stop his behavior.
     “In spring 2011, defendant DeMille was promoted and became plaintiff’s immediate supervisor. Later that same day, defendant DeMille instructed plaintiff to join him in a private, windowless room in the basement. There he exposed his erect penis and asked plaintiff, ‘What do you think of that?’ Plaintiff responded: “I think you should put it away,” and she left the room.”
     Unfazed, DeMille continued to pressure Endow until she gave in, she says.
     “Defendant DeMille continued to pressure plaintiff to engage in a sexual relationship with him, promising her that if she did so her work assignments and opportunities would improve,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff finally capitulated and began having sexual relations with defendant DeMille. Once plaintiff began having sexual relations with defendant DeMille, plaintiff’s work assignments did improve. Defendant DeMille intervened to have plaintiff assigned to heavy equipment operation rather than trash clean up. In fact, plaintiff soon found she could request any assignment she wanted and defendant DeMille would ensure she received it. Most important to plaintiff, she was relieved of pulling weeds, running a string trimmer along track lines, and having to clean TRAX {light rail} stations – jobs she, and her coworkers, severely disliked performing.
     “Defendant DeMille convinced plaintiff to continue their sexual relations by repeatedly reminding her: ‘Stick with me and you [will be rewarded]’ along with the unspoken, but strongly inferred, threat that failure to ‘stick with’ defendant DeMille would result in plaintiff losing her privileges – or worse.
     “One of the key privileges for plaintiff was defendant DeMille aggressively pursued training opportunities for plaintiff, which could significantly increase her promotion potential. Of course, all such training benefits were expressly conditioned by defendant DeMille on plaintiff providing sexual favors to defendant DeMille.” (Brackets, but not French brackets, in complaint.)
     Endow claims that DeMille “required” her to engage in sex at various UTA facilities, and in the cab of his truck, “before allowing her to return to work.”
     “Defendant DeMille regularly called plaintiff to make comments like ‘If you can guess what’s in my hand, you can have it,’ or, ‘I’m watching you and stroking myself,'” she says in the complaint.
     Endow claims that DeMille’s demands lasted from November 2011 to July 2012, during which time she “repeatedly complained about defendant DeMille to the management of defendant UTA.”
     In response, co-defendant Frank Cosens – a “first-tier” supervisor – allegedly told her: “You should have told him yours is bigger. It may require batteries, but it’s bigger.”
     A “second-tier” supervisor, defendant Richard Castleberry, separately responded to Endow’s complaints by telling her to “stop wearing white T-shirts,” she says in the complaint.
     Castleberry also responded “by covering his ears and saying: ‘I don’t want to hear this,'” Endow says in the lawsuit.
     She says that neither Cosens nor Castleberry took corrective or disciplinary action against DeMille.
     “Because of the threat of losing her training and assignment benefits, plaintiff never formally expressed a lack of consent to defendant DeMille. However, she also never communicated any affirmative consent to the sexual activities. At most, she expressed a reluctant acquiescence. Routinely plaintiff expressed to defendant DeMille that she was engaging in the sexual activities solely and exclusively because of the benefits she was receiving,” the complaint states.
     It adds: “The stress of engaging in an unwanted sexual relationship with defendant DeMille, coupled with the frustration of having her complaints mocked by management, has caused plaintiff to develop severe depression and alcoholism.”
     Endow says she took leave from absence from work in July 2012, and when she returned she was “was assigned exclusively to pulling weeds, running a string trimmer along the track lines, and cleaning stations.”
     “Plaintiff has been denied all requests for training and is not allowed to operate any of the machinery for which she received training before July 2012,” the complaint states. “Further, while other employees in plaintiff’s unit have been allowed and encouraged to become licensed and/or certified in various work-related advanced skills, and to do so at defendant UTA’s expense, plaintiff has been denied each and every time she has requested an opportunity to pursue similar certifications and licenses. In short, plaintiff has been placed in a situation where she cannot be promoted within defendant UTA’s structure because she is being denied the training, certification, work experience, etc., required to be eligible for promotion.”
     Endow says she formally complained to UTA’s human resources and civil rights compliance departments in 2012.
     She says the UTA closed the file on her grievances with a finding of no-cause.
     A human resources director told her “boys will be boys,” and said such behavior was to be expected, Endow claims.
     “In response to plaintiff’s July 16, 2012 complaint, defendant UTA performed a cursory investigation and, on August 16, 2012, informed plaintiff the investigation was being closed with a finding of no cause. Defendant UTA justified the no cause finding based solely on the fact the accused parties … denied any sexual harassment had occurred. Toby Diaz, director of human resources for defendant UTA, explained to petitioner that ‘boys will be boys’ and the behavior was to be expected when working as part of an overwhelmingly male crew,” the complaint states.
     Utah Transit Authority, operates a fleet of more than 600 buses and paratransit vehicles, 400 van pools, 146 light rail vehicles, 63 commuter rail cars and 18 locomotives in six counties and 1,600 square miles – one of the nation’s largest geographical service areas.
     The company could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday.
     Endow seeks punitive damages of more than $500,000 for sexual harassment, sexual battery, and negligent hiring and supervision and employment.
     She is represented by James Harward.

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