Goodwill sued for failing to prevent sexual harassment, suit says

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Oct. 31, 2013, 11:50am

HOUSTON - Alleging Goodwill Industries of Houston failed to take action in light of her complaints about "severe and pervasive" sexual harassment, Houston resident Karen Paul has filed a lawsuit.

In recent court documents filed Oct. 30 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, Paul explains that her immediate supervisor, Tuoro Barnes, targeted her for the aforementioned harassment, which reportedly caused her emotional distress.

Goodwill employs the plaintiff as a production worker, a position she held since December 2010.

She was supposed to work at one of the defendant's facilities in Missouri City, but since it had not yet opened, she trained at its West Dairy Ashford location.

The suit shows that Barnes, who is not a defendant in the case, immediately began to harass her, stating he repeatedly made sexually suggestive comments and tried to get her to have an extramarital affair with him.

It adds Barnes touched her inappropriately and was continuously told to stop with his purported remarks, suggestions and gestures to no avail.

Initially fearful of losing her job if she reported Barnes, the claimant "eventually got the courage" to complain to Goodwill management, which later allowed her to transfer to another store.

According to the original petition, the respondent, however, "did not conduct an investigation into her allegations."

Paul insists Goodwill knew of Barnes's supposed propensity to sexually harassment workers, but spared him disciplinary action.

She says the subject ordeal took a toll on her physical and mental health in addition to her marriage.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Liquita Lewis Thompson of Lewis Thompson Law PC in Humble is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:13-CV-3191

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