Former city employee files sexual harassment lawsuit against She - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former city employee files sexual harassment lawsuit against Shepherdsville Mayor Scott Ellis

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Mayor Scott Ellis at a Shepherdsville City Council meeting in March 2015. Mayor Scott Ellis at a Shepherdsville City Council meeting in March 2015.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A former city employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Shepherdsville Mayor Scott Ellis and the city, claiming Ellis repeatedly sexually harassed her, offered to take care of her “if she wanted to trade for sexual favors" and eventually wrongfully fired her.

In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Bullitt Circuit Court, the woman claims she had sexual contact with Ellis at his home for fear she would lose her job with the city's Public Works Department. But when she later declined to have a sexual affair with Ellis, the woman was fired, according to the suit.

Ellis also repeatedly made “offensive sexual suggestive and unwelcome comments, including asking her to crawl under his desk and asking her to have an affair with him,” according to the lawsuit.

Ellis is currently being investigated by the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department for allegations of official misconduct and sexual favors. The investigation is ongoing, officials said Friday.

In April, Lt.. Mike Murdoch of the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department told WDRB that three females had come forward claiming Ellis sexually harassed them, using “his office for gain of a sexual nature.”

The department at the time said Ellis had been accused of making promises to a woman on parole in exchange for sexual favors.

Investigators say he told her he could get her a pardon from the governor.

The Sheriff's Department says Ellis is also accused of sexually harassing two former employees. Ellis has not been charged with any crimes and remains in office.

In a short interview at his office on Friday, Ellis told WDRB he had just been notified of the lawsuit and could not comment except to say he denied the allegations. Ellis is in his second term as mayor.

WDRB is not naming the plaintiff in the lawsuit as she is alleging she is a victim of sexual harassment.

Her attorney, Alton Priddy, declined to comment.

The woman also claims male public works employees “disparaged and shunned” her because of her gender, according to the suit.

The male co-workers refused to help the woman do her job, telling her she was only able to get employment in public works because she was doing a “favor” for the mayor, according to the lawsuit.

When the woman complained to Ellis about the hostile environment, the mayor told her to “deal” with it and dismissed her complaints, the suit claims.

On July 3, 2013, the woman claims she received a phone call from Ellis complaining about a defective street sign near his home, asking that it be repaired. The mayor asked the woman to come to his home and then told her she was “in a perfect place for her to show she wanted a job” with the city police department by “engaging in sexual contact," according to the lawsuit.

The woman “did as directed,” according to the suit.

On Aug. 16, 2014, the woman claims Ellis told her if she would have a sexual affair with him, he would “take care of her and she would not have to worry,” the suit alleges. The woman said she refused.

A few days later, on Aug. 20, 2014, a male employee “acted violently” toward her and after she reported the incident, she was sent home, according to the lawsuit.

The next day, Ellis fired the woman, allegedly because of that dispute with a co-worker. But the woman claims she was fired because of her refusal to have an affair with the mayor, the suit says.

After she lost her job, the woman claims Ellis told several city employees she was “the biggest slut ever.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Joseph Wantland, the city attorney for Shepherdsville, was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment.

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