Medicaid Group Faces Sexual Harassment Suit by Former Employee

CNMI_Medicaid_Agency.JPGA former employee of a California public health plan filed a lawsuit in February 2013 accusing her former boss of sexually harassing her. Lucas v. Regional Government Services, et al, No. 56-2013-00432444-CU-OE-VTA, complaint (Cal. Super. Ct. – Ventura Co., Feb. 22, 2013). The plaintiff further alleges that she was fired in retaliation for complaining about the harassment. The lawsuit names the health plan and its management company as defendants.

The plaintiff began working for Regional Government Services (RGS) in January 2011 as an administrative assistant. RGS managed the Ventura County Managed MediCal Care Commission, which does business as Gold Coast Health Plan (GCHP). GCHP’s then-CEO Earl Greenia and human resources director Candice Limousin reportedly interviewed her. The plaintiff claims that her relationship with Greenia was initially very professional, but that over time his questions became more “personal,” more about her appearance and romantic life and less about her work goals. Greenia allegedly stared at her and made comments about her clothing that she found inappropriate. She did not complain at this time, she says, for fear of losing her job.

The plaintiff alleges in her complaint that Greenia’s harassment worsened considerably starting in July 2011. She claims that he would brush up against her, make other unconsented contact, and make sexual jokes or remarks. He continued, she states, even after she told him multiple times to stop. She tried to report her concerns in February 2012 to Limousin and RGS HR manager Jennifer Bower. The plaintiff alleges that neither individual took her complaints seriously. She eventually took a leave of absence because the stress was making her physically ill. She claims that she experienced nausea, vomiting, and weight loss, as well as fainting spells that required an ambulance to pick her up at work on one occasion. In March 2012, while the plaintiff was on leave, Greenia resigned as GCHP’s CEO. RGS informed the plaintiff shortly afterward that it was terminating her, effective August 31, 2012.

She filed suit against GCHP, RGS, and Greenia on February 22, 2013 in Ventura County Superior Court, claiming unlawful sexual harassment and retaliation. Interestingly, another lawsuit, filed in December 2012 in Ventura County, is pitting other characters in the plaintiff’s story against each other. Limousin and two other GCHP administrators filed suit against GCHP, RGS, Bower, Greenia, and two other GCHP administrators for a wide range of claims including discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation. Limousin’s allegations against Greenia include a fear of retaliation for investigating sexual harassment allegations by two female employees against another defendant. She also allegedly expressed concerns about Greenia’s relationship with the plaintiff. Much of the lawsuit alleges retaliation for cooperating with state investigators during an audit of GCHP’s books at the beginning of 2012, after about $1 million allegedly went missing.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit may have to compete with Limousin’s suit over what could prove to be limited resources. The lawsuit presumably asserts claims under state law. Most states have similar anti-discrimination laws to Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment at work, treating it as a form of gender discrimination. The New York State Human Rights Law, for example, also prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment,

The lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent victims of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination in New York City and surrounding areas, fighting to protect their rights at the municipal, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.

Web Resources:

Case Summary (PDF file), No. 56-2013-00432444-CU-OE-VTA, Lucas vs. Regional Government Services, et al, Superior Court, Ventura County, California, March 29, 2013
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Photo credit: By English: Abasaa日本語: あばさー (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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