BY REBECCA PALMER
SALT LAKE CITY – A janitorial employee of the Utah Transit Authority has sued the semi-public company over an unwanted sexual affair with her supervisor.
The alleged unwanted affair and accompanying sexual harassment occurred in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties between 2009 and 2012.
In July of 2012, the plaintiff Traci Endow complained of sexual harassment to UTA’s human resources department. UTA performed an investigation, but then dismissed the matter one month later after finding “no cause,” according to the complaint, which was filed in federal district court on Monday.
The suit alleges that Toby Diaz, director of human resources for UTA, told Endow “boys will be boys” and that the behavior was to be expected, as the crew she was working on was mostly male.
It started in 2009 when a coworker, Brett Demille, touched Endow sexually and made aggressive motions and comments toward her. She asked him to stop, but by 2011 he was promoted to be her supervisor, according to the complaint.
That day, he allegedly exposed himself and propositioned her for sex. She refused, and repeatedly complained to UTA management, according to the filing. Defendant Frank Cosens, a Davis County resident and UTA manager, allegedly made a crude joke and dismissed the matter.
Demille allegedly continued to pressure her for sex and promised her better work assignments.
Endow eventually gave in to his demands, and was assigned preferable work, no longer having to complete jobs such as using a string trimmer along tracks, cleaning TRAX stations and pulling weeds, according to the complaint. Until she gave in, she was also denied training opportunities that could have led to advancement, the suit reads.
Several incidences of sex between the two occurred during work hours and inside UTA facilities, allegedly. During these instances, Endow didn’t express a “lack of consent” but, at most, “reluctant acquiescence,” according to the filing.
By summer of 2012, Endow had become addicted to alcohol as a reaction to the alleged abuse and was physically incapable of reporting to work, and she told her husband what had happened. She took a two-week paid leave, but has since returned to work under the same managers she is accusing.
She has also been put back to work cleaning stations, pulling weeds and operating string trimmers, and has not been offered training or advancement opportunities.
UTA, Demille, Cosens and another supervisor are being sued for sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, retaliation, negligence and sexual battery. She estimates full compensation would be at least $500,000.