Woman says she was terminated in retaliation for her reporting of sexual harassment

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 10, 2014

A woman claims she was fired after her supervisor sexually harassed her.

A woman claims she was fired after her supervisor sexually harassed her.

Vanesa Gouldburn filed a lawsuit Aug. 28 in the Houston Division of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against AIG Global Services, Valic Financial Advisors and American International Property Group.

In her complaint, Gouldburn claims she was hired on June 9, 2009. Beginning in July of 2013, Gouldburn's supervisor allegedly began to sexually harass her by making inappropriate comments about her appearance and by suggesting that she and he get a hotel room together, according to the complaint.

He also allegedly offered to help her earn more commissions by sending her sales leads in exchange for attention from her, the suit states.

"Plaintiff's supervisor ... would send plaintiff Vanesa sales leads after she would spend time with him outside of work," the complaint claims.

On Aug. 8, 2013, and on Aug. 12, 2013, Gouldbourn claims she reported the alleged harassment to the defendants' human resources department. While the office investigated her complaint, Gouldbourn was placed on paid administrative leave, according to the complaint. However, she was not able to make sales and, therefore, lacked commission, the suit states.

The investigation concluded on Sept. 23, 2013, with a finding of no wrongdoing on the supervisor's part, the complaint says.

Gouldbourn claims she was given the option of returning to work with the supervisor, to be reassigned to another department or to quit if she was not happy.

Gouldbourn requested an additional option and did not return to work, according to the complaint. On Sept. 20, 2013, Gouldbourn was fired, the suit states. She only found out about her termination when her health insurance was canceled, the complaint says.

Since her termination, Gouldbourn claims her former supervisor continues to harass her.

In her complaint, Gouldbourn accuses the defendants of violating the federal discrimination laws and of creating a hostile work environment.

She seeks actual and general damages, plus compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest legal rate, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Sarah C. Dionne and George K. Farah of Guerra & Farah PLLC in Houston will be representing her.

U.S. District Court case number: 4:14--CV-2495

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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