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Queens Chronicle

Boss tried to shack up with me: lawsuit

Shaken-up York student alleges sexual harassment at Radio Shack

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Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:41 am, Thu May 15, 2014.

A York College student is suing Radio Shack and her allegedly lascivious former boss in excess of $150,000, claiming she was sexually harassed on the job.

Ashley Monero, 20, says in the federal complaint that she suffered from constant sexual bullying by her boss, Simon Douglas, the then-manager of the electronics store’s Springfield Gardens location.

Monero began working at the 134-40 Springfield Blvd. store in March 2013 when she was 19 years old, but it didn’t take long for her to start feeling uncomfortable around Douglas.

Two months following Monero’s start at the store as a sales representative, Douglas “began making continual inappropriate sexual comments and innuendos” toward her, according to the complaint.

“I endured it until August, before he was transferred to another store,” Monero said in an interview.

The lewd comments were conveyed through text messages and in person on a daily basis, she says. Douglas, who could not be reached for this article, offered Monero a ride home on numerous occasions and she refused, but he didn’t give up easily, the suit states.

It says Douglas constantly sent offensive text messages to Monero saying things like, “Come let me take care of it,” and “sexy body,” or “Do you know what I’ll do if your clothes come off?”

Along with the text messages, Douglas allegedly physically abused Monero on several occasions. In the store’s back room, “Douglas would slap or squeeze the Plaintiff’s buttocks,” and during lunch time Douglas would pull back her bra straps, look down her shirt and grab at Monero’s private parts, the allegations state.

Douglas eventually was fired. But while he allegedly pursued Monero, he repeatedly threatened to terminate her employment if she spoke out about his groping and constant harassment, the suit says. “If you say anything about this, it’s over! You’ll be done!” it quotes him as saying.

“These allegations are of a man using that power in the attempt to pressure an employee to have sex with him to keep her job,” said Monero’s lawyer, Derek Smith.

“That’s illegal, quid pro quo harassment, that forms the basis of our complaint,” Smith added.

In retaliation for being refused, Douglas allegedly began cutting back Monero’s weekly hours, causing her to have financial worries.

On one specific occasion, Monero was punished unfairly for supposedly allowing a customer directly in front of her to wait for 15 minutes for assistance. While she said that was a false accusation, it resulted in a leave of absence for two weeks without pay. Monero was dependent on the job to earn a living, so she didn’t quit.

But the allegedly hostile environment proved too much for her, and after months of humiliation and emotional pain, Monero begged on six separate occasions to be transferred to a different location.

Finally, Monero was transferred to a Radio Shack in Woodside, and she filed a complaint in September with the Shack’s human resources department. And since then, Monero adds, she has been harassed by former coworkers who feel she had unjustly brought a suit against Douglas.

The company, whose slogan is “Good things happen when we do it together,” did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

As a result of the alleged transgressions by her former boss, Monero no longer works at Radio Shack, and goes to counseling to work on solving her emotional distress associated with the harassment.

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