County settles sexual harassment suit for $350K

Accusations centered on human services and contractors.

EVERETT — Snohomish County has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by two women who accused a male supervisor at the human services department of years of inappropriate workplace behavior.

The total combined settlement for the county and two other organizations was $800,000.

The legal complaint described a pattern of unwanted hugging, kissing and comments. The women said they were threatened with retaliation, including the loss of their jobs, when they tried to make it stop. They said other managers, supervisors and some co-workers contributed to the intimidating workplace atmosphere.

They did not work directly for the county. They were employed by Lutheran Community Services and later the Stillaguamish Senior Center, with whom the county contracted at different times for programs.

Under the agreement, the county agreed to pay $350,000. The County Council approved the settlement last week. The Daily Herald obtained a copy under state public records laws.

The agreement includes payment of $300,000 from SeaTac-based Lutheran Community Services.

The Stillaguamish Senior Center settled separately for $150,000.

County officials declined to comment on the agreement, but confirmed that the supervisor continues to work at the human services department. A spokesman for Lutheran Community Services did not return calls for comment. An administrator at the Stillaguamish Senior Center referred questions to an attorney.

The women filed their lawsuit last year in King County Superior Court.

It alleges years of verbal and physical harassment before the fall of 2015, when each filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint at the county. One of the women said she was excluded from essential training as a result. Both said they felt their job security was threatened. They alleged that the county and other defendants should have been aware of the allegations, but failed to address them.

The settlements include no admission of wrongdoing by the defendants. The women agreed to drop all claims. They were represented by Seattle-based attorney Robin Williams Phillips.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Chickens on pasture at Skylight Farms in Snohomish. (Petrina Fisher)
As bird flu spreads to 7 counties, Snohomish County farms on watch

No cases of avian flu have been confirmed here. But its arrival could be devastating for poultry farmers.

A ferryboat. (Washington State Ferries)
Mukilteo-Clinton ferry riders get their two-boat service back

The Edmonds-Kingston route could be next, depending on COVID-19 cases and crew shortages.

Norris the plains zebra grazes on some grass Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at Flying M Ranch and Horses in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Norris the zebra is fitting in with his new herd near Lake Stevens

Black-and-white stripes are a vibrant pop against the farmland at Flying M Ranch and Horses in rural Snohomish County.

Herald photographers are out and about, capturing scenes from across Snohomish County.
Photography: the extracurricular shots

Herald photographers are out and about, capturing scenes from across Snohomish County.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mukilteo in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mukilteo man missing for over 24 hours found dead

Kook Byung Choi, 84, was found in woods near where he went missing in Mukilteo.

Everett
Public bathrooms downtown, cleanup program approved by Everett council

The City Council voted on how to spend $1.1 million in relief funds, including a three-year “Clean Everett” plan.

Justin Blasko
Report on Monroe superintendent’s conduct delivered to school board

Employees accused Justin Blasko of fomenting a hostile workplace. Findings won’t be public for about two weeks or longer.

Drivers head northbound on Evergreen Way through the Everett Mall Way intersection past a 35 mph speed limit sign on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lower speed limits move forward on dangerous stretch of Highway 99

The Everett City Council approved a resolution to slow speeds on Evergreen and Everett Mall ways.

The Temple of Justice is shown Thursday, April 23, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)
Everett man’s cannabis DUI challenge rejected by state Supreme Court

Douglas Fraser III argued the law must be tossed, because the legal limit for THC is not supported by science.

Most Read