Politics & Government

In lawsuit, former Ky. state employee claims boss urinated on her, dragged in dead animals

A former Transportation Cabinet employee filed a lawsuit this week saying she endured constant sexual comments, was instructed to clean up the blood of a dead deer and had a supervisor who exposed his genitalia to her and urinated on her shoes.

The Cabinet is investigating the allegations by Stacy Smith, who worked in the Cumberland County office, Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe said.

"The cabinet did launch an investigation of the allegations, and the investigation is not yet final," Wolfe said. As for the lawsuit, which Smith filed Monday in Franklin Circuit Court, Wolfe said the Cabinet did not comment on litigation. He said the cabinet will file a response to the complaint in Franklin Circuit Court.

Smith began working on payroll and paperwork in the Cabinet's district office in 2005, the lawsuit said. She alleged that she was forced to resign May 21 because of a harassing and sexually hostile environment.

Smith alleged that her supervisor, who is not named in the lawsuit, frequently talked in front of her about women's bodies and graphic sexual topics. The lawsuit said he rubbed her breast with his arm as she worked on a computer. In spring 2012, the lawsuit said, he made offensive and slanderous comments about her associations with men.

In May 2012, the lawsuit said, she was asked to get into a truck with her supervisor, who then told her that she had been seen talking to a black man at a store and, using a racial slur, he told her she shouldn't talk to black men "because it didn't look good."

On June 14, the lawsuit claimed, Smith's supervisor confiscated her cellphone so she couldn't record a conversation and then falsely accused her of doing inappropriate things. He also told her he hated her and that she better quit her job or he would make her life "a living hell."

When she refused to quit, the supervisor called her parents and told them she was on drugs, according to the lawsuit.

In Oct. 2012, the supervisor dragged the bloody head of a dead deer past her desk and put it in the men's room. He then told her to clean the deer blood off the floors and walls, the lawsuit said.

"Plaintiff's supervisor would frequently bring dead animal carcasses back to the district office, decapitate them and then hang their heads on the Cabinet light poles," the lawsuit said.

The supervisor would pass gas in front of her to embarrass her in front of co-workers. He bought a canister and sprayed a foul odorous mist around her desk, according to the lawsuit complaint. The lawsuit said the supervisor exposed his genitalia to her and urinated in front of her on multiple occasions, at one point urinating on her shoes.

Smith, the only woman in the office, was told that she wasn't welcome at the office's Thanksgiving dinner, and she was the only employee not to get a pay raise, the lawsuit alleged.

Smith alleges that when she filed a grievance with the Transportation Cabinet, she did not get a response within the required 30 days.

Smith alleged that when she went to the office on May 21, a fellow employee told her the supervisor said that she was not allowed in the office. A co-worker — who was not identified in the complaint — grabbed her by the waist and kept her from going to her desk.

Smith is asking for unspecified damages in the lawsuit, which alleges sexual discrimination and sexual harassment.

"Ms. Smith enjoyed her job and did not want to quit and lose her benefits," Smith's attorney, Shane Sidebottom, said via email. "The last year of her employment became unbearable, though."