A Daisytown woman sued Walmart in federal court Monday, claiming she was sexually harassed by a coworker.
Julia Boyer alleged while she worked at the Belle Vernon location, one male coworker touched her inappropriately, threatened her and took part in a competition among other men working there to see who could have sex with her first.
The suit also claimed the coworker, who was not named as a defendant in the suit, made joking comments about shooting people, telling Boyer, “If you would ever go missing it was me.”
Boyer worked at the store between October 2018 and March 14.
Her attorney, Michael J. Bruzzese, stated in the filing that she went to the store’s co-manager with the claims. The manager reported the matter to the chain’s ethics department, and later told Boyer “appropriate action” would be taken, Bruzzese wrote. The manager also suggested Boyer transfer to another store, according to the suit.
Randy Hargrove, a spokesman for Walmart, said the company “promptly investigated allegations Ms. Boyer brought to our attention and could not substantiate them.”
“We don’t condone or tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind,” Hargrove said.
Boyer’s suit contended the harassment continued at the Belle Vernon store in March, and she contacted the local police. According to the filing, police told Boyer her manager reported to them that she was the one harassing her coworker.
The manager then allegedly told Boyer she was waiting too long to determine at which store she wanted to work, and told her she could not guarantee a schedule that would avoid Boyer and her coworker crossing paths if she remained at the Belle Vernon location.
“In light of the fact that Walmart refused to do anything to resolve the sexually hostile work environment to which (Boyer) was being subjected, she felt that she had no other option except to quit her job,” Bruzzese wrote. “(Boyer) was, in effect, constructively discharged, on account of her gender due to a sexually hostile work environment.”
Hargrove, however, said the company tried to work with Boyer.
“We tried resolving the situation to Ms. Boyer’s satisfaction by offering her different roles at her store and transferring her to another nearby location, but she declined and left the company. We intend to defend the company against the litigation,” he said.