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Sullivan v. Randall-Collins Post 3108 Dept. of Maine Veterans of Foreign Wars of U.S.

Superior Court of Maine, Waldo

October 26, 2016

MADELINE SULLIVAN Plaintiff
v.
RANDALL-COLLINS POST 3108 DEPT. OF MAINE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF U.S. Defendant

          DECISION & JUDGMENT

         The Plaintiff had filed a two count Complaint asserting claims for relief under the Maine Human Rights Act. This matter came before the Court for trial on August 30, 2016. Subsequent to the trial, the parties submitted written closing arguments for the Court's further review.

         Based upon the evidence presented at trial, the Court makes the following findings.

         For a relatively brief period of time from September to November 2013, the Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant as a bar server in the Defendant's VFW Hall. The Plaintiff accepted the job offer in order to supplement her primary employment with the Belfast Harbor Inn.

         The Plaintiff generally worked four shifts per week from 11 AM to 5 PM. Scott Cilley was the bar manager and a supervisor over the Plaintiff. Mr. Cilley was responsible for making out the Plaintiffs work schedule, and ultimately was the individual who communicated the Employer's termination decision to the Plaintiff.

         Soon after the Plaintiff began working for the Defendant, Mr. Cilley began a pattern of harassing behavior which included poking the Plaintiff in her ribs, grabbing her around her waist, swatting her with a fly swatter and talking about her breasts. Mr. Cilley also touched the Defendant's legs above her knee. Mr. Cilley told the Plaintiff he would take her to his bed and made comments to her about her having a nice butt and squeezing her breasts which he described as squeezable melons.

         The Plaintiff repeatedly rebuffed Mr. Cilley's advances telling him to knock it off on numerous occasions and slapping his hand when he touched her. The Plaintiff testified that Mr. Cilley's conduct made her feel disgusting and cheap.

         The Commander of the VFW at the time, Steve Brown, observed some of the conduct by Mr. Cilley as described above. Mr. Brown failed to take effective action to stop Mr. Cilley's conduct.

         During the course of the Plaintiffs employment, the Defendant experienced some difficulty with the Plaintiffs work performance. In particular, the Plaintiff was never able to properly reconcile "pull ticket" sales, thereby leaving for other employees the task of reconciling these type sales with the register proceeds. The Defendant employer was also receiving customer complaints regarding Plaintiffs failure to timely serve the customers.

         Finally, the Plaintiff was also responding negatively regarding the performance of some of her job duties such as the cleaning of bathrooms.

         The operations of the Defendant VFW were managed by a House Committee. One week prior to the Plaintiffs actual termination from employment, the House Committee voted to terminate the Plaintiffs employment. The House Committee was not made aware of Mr. Cilley's harassing behavior toward the Plaintiff prior to or at the time of its' discussions regarding the termination of Ms. Sullivan.

         Mr. Brown instructed Mr. Cilley to inform the Plaintiff of her termination. The Defendant delayed the actual termination of the Plaintiff for one week in order to try to find a replacement worker. On the day the Plaintiff was terminated, early in the shift, the Plaintiff acknowledged that she was approached by Mr. Cilley who informed her that he needed to speak with her later that day.

         During that same shift, after Mr. Cilley had informed the Plaintiff that they would need to talk later that day, Mr. Cilley engaged in another incident of harassing behavior towards the Plaintiff. Specifically, the Plaintiff testified that Mi*. Cilley slapped her in the butt really hard. This incident occurred while Mr. Cilley was behind the bar and other customers were present.

         At the end of that shift, approximately two hours after the slapping incident, Mr. Cilley approached the Plaintiff and informed her that she was being fired. The Plaintiff was ...


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