A United States District Court Judge ruled on Monday that Angela Agganis, a former T-Mobile customer service representative, will get a jury trial on her claims of sexual harassment. The Court denied T-Mobile’s attempt to have the case dismissed on summary judgment.
Agganis is represented by Jeffrey Neil Young, Roberta de Araujo, and Valerie Z. Wicks with the workers’ rights firm of Johnson, Webbert & Young LLP, located in Augusta and Portland.
Agganis filed suit after her supervisor at T-Mobile’s call center in Oakland, Maine made repeated unwanted sexual advances including a minute-long unwanted massage and looking her up and down daily. The supervisor was hired by T-Mobile despite his past records as a medical doctor who lost his license for having sex with two of his patients.
When Agganis reported the harassment, the Company attempted to silence her by demanding that she sign an agreement that she would not discuss the case with other employees. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that T-Mobile’s policy of imposing this gag order was illegal.
Other women at the T-Mobile call center had made complaints about the same supervisor. Although one woman reported to T-Mobile’s Human Resources department that the supervisor had openly used the “c word,” TMobile’s HR investigator testified that the use of such vile language didn’t necessarily violate the Company’s sexual harassment policy. Still another woman reported that this supervisor had promised her work-related rewards if she wore sheer clothing. Additional women reported unwanted massages. A jury, the federal court concluded, could consider this evidence when evaluating whether T-Mobile exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior.
Attorney Wicks stated that “this decision is important because it re-emphasizes that it’s not enough for an employer to simply have a sexual harassment policy, it must have an effective one. A policy is not effective if women are subjected to sex-based slurs, unwanted massages, and leering in the workplace.”
Agganis declared, “No working woman should have to endure sexual harassment on the job. And no woman should be denied the right to speak to others about what occurred. I hope this suit will ensure that women working at T-Mobile are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and encourage women everywhere to come forward and put an end to intolerable working conditions.”