California Salvation Army chapter named in sexual harassment suit

Posted in Sexual Harassment on September 25, 2013

Some might be tempted to assume that sexual harassment only occurs in private-sector workplaces. They might argue that government jobs and non-profit organizations tend to attract workers who would not engage in such disrespectful and inappropriate behavior.

But an assumption like that would be wishful thinking. Sexual harassment occurs in every kind of workplace; even at well-respected non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army. Recently, a female employee of the Salvation Army sued a California branch for failing to prevent and respond to sexual harassment allegedly perpetrated by a male superior.

The 48-year-old woman works for the Salvation Army’s Modesto Citadel Corp. She has been in her position since 2006. In her lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that a superior who worked at her branch for 21 months sexually harassed her for 18 of those months.

Specifically, the man is accused of:

  • Inappropriately and repeatedly touching the plaintiff
  • Talking to the plaintiff about his sex life and asking questions about hers
  • Following the plaintiff around and work
  • Driving by the plaintiff’s home
  • Asking the plaintiff about her teenage children’s sex lives

After working in his position for 21 months, the man was reportedly demoted and transferred to a different part of California. Officials for the Salvation Army demoted him after an investigation substantiated claims that he had sexually harassed a female employee. That employee has not been named, and may or may not be the plaintiff.

In her lawsuit, the woman claims that the sexual harassment caused “grief, humiliation and embarrassment;” all of which resulted in physical symptoms including migraines, stomach-aches, insomnia and other issues. She is seeking $1 million in damages, which is about 25 percent of the annual budget for the Modesto Citadel Corps.

Source: The Modesto Bee, “Worker sues Salvation Army in $1 million sexual harassment claim,” Kevin Valine, Sept. 17, 2013