Lawsuit: Woman who reported harassment was attacked
A former Swiftships employee is suing the company, alleging that a former co-worker attacked her after learning about her sexual harassment complaints against him.
Valerie Landreneau filed a lawsuit June 1 in 16th Judicial District Court against Swiftships in Morgan City and two former co-workers for sexual harassment, one of whom she alleges attacked her at work, according to St. Mary Parish Clerk of Court records.
The lawsuit says she is entitled to recover damages for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress disorder, loss of wages and loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, damage to reputation and attorney fees.
In June 2014, Landreneau was experiencing nearly daily sexual harassment, the lawsuit charges. The harassment was so extreme that Landreneau had difficulty doing her job.
Therefore, Landreneau went to a Swiftships’ human resources employee to talk about the harassment.
The lawsuit said one of the men harassing her was Earnest Ladday Jr., and that Landreneau followed proper procedure by reporting the harassment to a human resources employee. The human resources employee is not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit said that instead of taking Landreneau’s complaints seriously the human resources employee “acted with disbelief and stated that she did not believe that Mr. Ladday would do something like that.”
Instead of investigating the complaints, the lawsuit alleges that the human resources employee, on behalf of Swiftships, failed to keep the complaint confidential, and Ladday learned of Landreneau’s complaints.
On July 10, 2014, Landreneau again complained to Swiftships of Ladday’s continuing harassment. On that day, Ladday harassed her more, and Landreneau again described the harassment to the human resources employee.
The lawsuit alleges that the human resources employee again divulged information to other employees.
When Ladday learned that Landreneau complained of the harassment again, Ladday became enraged. Landreneau then told the human resources employee of Ladday’s threats against her, but Swiftships took no action, the suit alleges.
“On July 14, 2014, Mr. Ladday lay in wait for Ms. Landreneau and attacked her. He left her bleeding and helpless on the ground,” the suit claims.
The lawsuit alleges that Landreneau called to Swiftships’ security guard to notify police, but the guard refused. Landreneau called police herself on her cellphone.
According to a Morgan City Police news release, Ladday, 58, of Patterson, was arrested at 6:05 a.m. July 14 and charged with simple battery.
Ladday was arrested after officers received a complaint of a disturbance on Levee Road in Morgan City. Officers arrived and learned that Ladday had become involved in a verbal altercation with a woman, and during the altercation, slapped her on the face, the release stated.
Ladday pleaded guilty to the simple battery charge Sept. 9, in City Court, according to a City Court official.
Attempts to reach Ladday by phone for comment were unsuccessful.
The lawsuit also said Landreneau told the human resources employee about sexually harassing statements she received almost every day from co-worker, Gregory Chenevert. The human resources employee acknowledged that she knew the harassment was ongoing and said she would take care of it.
Swiftships didn’t stop the harassment and prevent further harassment. Instead, the lawsuit alleges that the human resources employee divulged Landreneau’s complaints to other employees so that Chenevert became aware of the complaints.
The lawsuit doesn’t claim that Chenevert took any physical action against Landreneau after learning of the complaints against him.
A phone number listed in a 2010-11 phone book for a Gregory Chenevert Jr., living at the address given for Chenevert in the lawsuit, has been disconnected. Chenevert did not have a phone number listed in the 2014-15 phone book.
The lawsuit said that Swiftships has not paid Landreneau’s medical expenses related to the assault. The suit also alleges that in October 2014, Swiftships discharged Landreneau because of her complaints and because she could no longer do her job due to the injuries Ladday inflicted.
Upon contacting Swiftships for comment on the lawsuit, The Daily Review was referred to Swiftships attorney Aimee Griffin.
As of this morning, The Daily Review had received no response to an email sent to Griffin on Monday.
The Daily Review called Landreneau’s attorney Jennifer Willis for comment on the lawsuit but hadn’t received a call back as of this morning.
This story was written by Zachary Fitzgerald. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.