A sexual harassment lawsuit has been filed in Washington DC. Superior Court, charging financial giant Fannie Mae with promoting “a culture that mistreats women, including hiring and paying them to have sex with upper management, and tolerates illegal, extreme, and abhorrent sexual harassment.”
The case involves a lurid tale of a senior manager in the company’s IT department meeting an adult dancer at a gentlemen’s club and hiring her to work in his department, despite her lack of experience. Joseph King had been dating one of Soleil Bonnin’s colleagues at the Washington, D.C. club when he offered her a job, but after she was hired she charges that he kept her isolated within the department and used his position as her supervisor to demand sex, going so far as threatening to fire her if she did not comply. According to Ms. Bonnin’s attorney, King told her that “he could do whatever he wanted at Fannie Mae,” including firing her. “On some occasions, King would take plaintiff to a nearby hotel and demand that she have sex with him.”
The lawsuit charges that at least one of King’s supervisors at Fannie Mae was aware of the relationship, going so far as to approve expenses for lunches with alcohol and business trips that he insisted she accompany him on. “Fannie Mae tolerated and fostered an environment where employees were given latitude to act improperly. Fannie Mae turned a blind eye to plaintiff and King’s unexplained extended absences from the workplace and their lack of productivity.”
Fannie Mae responded to the charges in a statement to media, saying, “We have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and harassment. We investigate allegations whenever we are made aware of them, and we take swift and decisive action when we establish inappropriate behavior. We took swift and decisive action in this instance. While we won’t comment on a pending lawsuit, we continue to investigate the allegations. We terminated the supervisor in question immediately upon learning about his misconduct.”But the lawsuit indicates that it was only after Bonnin received a restraining order against King more than a year after she began working for the company that the company fired him. The lawsuit accuses Fannie Mae of having a culture of sexism and neglect.
Sexual harassment and abuse are never acceptable, and especially not in the workplace. If your rights are being violated, we can help. Contact us today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.