EXCLUSIVE: LRC employee worried about losing her job in Frankfor - WDRB 41 Louisville News

EXCLUSIVE: LRC employee worried about losing her job in Frankfort after reporting sexual assault

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Photo courtesy votetommythompson.com Photo courtesy votetommythompson.com
Photo courtesy of votejohnnybell.com Photo courtesy of votejohnnybell.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - A woman involved in a sexual harassment scandal at the State Capitol in Frankfort is worried about losing her job. Her attorney says they're ready to fight if anything happens.

"The whole course of this litigation has been very disturbing," said attorney T. Clay, who represents Yolanda Costner.

Costner, an LRC employee for more than 20 years, is one of four who's claimed sexual harassment at the capitol.

"These employees were in an atmosphere which has been referred to as a culture, where LRC employees were harassed sexually,” Clay said. “They were inappropriately approached by legislators and by LRC staff to the point where it was interfering with their ability to do their job."

Costner currently works for House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson. He is running for re-election Tuesday against Representative Johnny Bell.

Costner believes that since she filed claims against former Rep. John Arnold who's since resigned, that if Bell wins Tuesday, she'll lose her job.

"If he takes any action that could be considered an adverse employment action, that's a violation of the Whistleblower Act if that action was prompted as a result of her voicing these concerns,” Clay said.

In a letter to Representative Tom Riner, Costner claims Bell has been telling people that if he's elected the new majority whip, he'll “clean house”, including firing Costner and replacing her with another LRC employee.

"And the purpose of this letter is to put the house on notice that we will consider any such action to be in retaliation for her activities and exposing this atmosphere in the legislature," Clay said.

After getting the letter, Riner issued a warning to lawmakers.

"And if someone is elected who will do that, I think they're gonna be in hot water legally," he said.

That's why Riner sent out a letter saying legislators need to stick up for sexual assault victims, not try to silence them.

"And so if we set that type of standard, all we're doing is hurting women all across the state because people will learn that employers can do this to women, and nothing will happen," Riner said.

Representative Bell issued a statement over the phone to WDRB News.

"Me running for leadership has nothing to do with anything, except that I can contribute something positive to the caucus," he said. "As far as the staff, I haven't given it much thought and it won't be relevant unless I win the race. There's been no plan, or scheme, or in-depth discussion about anyone's employment."

The Kentucky House Majority Whip will be elected Tuesday afternoon.

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