Worker claims she was sexually harassed by supervisor - FOX 35 News Orlando

Worker claims she was sexually harassed by supervisor

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A showroom for 1-800-HANSONS.  A former call center worker said she was sexually harassed by her manager. A showroom for 1-800-HANSONS. A former call center worker said she was sexually harassed by her manager.

You have probably heard the 1-800-HANSONS jingle, but now the popular window company based in metro Detroit is under scrutiny.  A now former employee allegedly texted an inappropriate comment and picture to one of his subordinates.

Lynette Roberts said she was on the job less than two weeks and was sexually harassed by her manager, a convicted criminal that was fired from the company for coming onto women and then brought back.

"I just needed a job.  I'm a single mom," she said.

Roberts was thrilled to hear back about a position in the call center at 1-800 HANSONS, the home improvement company based in Troy, but the 38-year-old said from the moment she interviewed for the job, she was sexually harassed by manager DeMacio Sneed.

"During the interview, he slipped me his number, told me to call him later on, and he'll let me know about the job.  I did call him later on, and he told me he gave it to his boss, everything is fine, you'll be in there.  You know, you're a very beautiful woman," she explained.  "Just kept it clean about the job, that's what I tried to do on my end."

However, on March 11, her very first day of training, Roberts said her manager texted her.

"It came through 'damn u fine,'" she said.  "So when we got ready to go out on break, he said, 'Did you get my text?'  And I was like, 'Thanks.'  He was like, 'Thanks, that's it?'"

Roberts said she tried to ignore Sneed's advances, but it only got worse.  On March 16 after work hours, there was another text from her boss.  This time he sent her a picture of his penis, which he apparently regretted, soon texting her that he was sorry, he didn't mean it, delete it, he couldn't afford to lose his job because of his kids.

"Started feeling like I was violated, but in the same token, as I said before, I'm a single mom, and I needed my job, and by me being new there, I didn't want to go to management right away," she said.

However, Roberts said after a week of inappropriate sexual comments and unwanted shoulder rubs, she felt she had no choice.

On Saturday, March 23, a day Sneed wasn't at work, Roberts went to a superior and lodged a formal complaint.  Instead of putting them both on leave and launching an immediate investigation, Roberts said she was given the option to go home, and Sneed was able to return to work.

This is what she said the owner, Brian Elias, told her when he talked to her about the situation:

"He was saying when he sent the pictures after [hours] maybe he was drunk, but what about when we're at work and he's touching or he's sending a text 'damn u fine.'  He's not drunk then.  It's no excuse, and I felt at that moment that he was just backing him up because my understanding is he has a past history," said Roberts.

Fox 2 has learned Sneed was was fired from Hansons before for flirting with his underlings, but the company hired him back despite the fact, according to online records, Sneed was already a convicted criminal on probation for threatening witnesses, drugs and driving drunk.

"The more I listened to my client's story, the more incredulous I was.  This is certainly unacceptable, and it appears to be a pattern at that particular workplace," said attorney Fred Rosen.

Rosen, who now represents Roberts, said other potential victims have since come forward.  Roberts, who resigned and is undergoing counseling, said it has not been easy, but in her heart she knows finally speaking up was the right thing to do.

"I'm just the voice for other people.  Don't feel bad when something like this happens.  Just come forward because it's not your fault," she said.

I did reach out to Hansons, who provided me with the following statement.

"Miss Roberts came to human resources and reported a grievance.

She alleged an inappropriate picture had been texted to her personal cell phone by another worker.

Human resources, in accordance with the company's written policy, began an investigation and assured Miss Roberts her safety was the company's primary concern.

Miss Roberts was not clear as to why she had waited a week to report the alleged incident.

The other employee never again showed up for work and was terminated.

Miss Roberts also never again showed up for work and eventually quit.

Hansons wrote to Miss Roberts that she was welcome to return to her job if she wished."

I spoke to Elias by phone and he told me that the company regrets the incident, but stated it appeared to be a private matter between two employees.

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