3 Youngstown employees underwent training after gender bias accusations


By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

An internal investigation into a former city employee’s allegations of gender discrimination in the city’s sign shop prompted sexual-harassment training for a supervisor and department workers.

Carly Bowlen, now living in Tennessee, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court last Friday claiming she was denied overtime, prevented from having a TV in her office and allowed to drive only the cone car because of her gender.

The internal investigation failed to substantiate these claims, but it did find her supervisor, Mike Drummond, had made questionable comments in Bowlen’s presence.

When presented with allegations he told other employees, “It’s a man’s job,” referred to women as “broads” and said things such as, “All women are crazy,” Drummond didn’t deny them and said, “They weren’t geared to her.”

The city determined the allegations “did not rise to the level of sexual harassment or bullying.”

Drummond and two other sign-shop employees underwent sexual harassment, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training as a result.

No further issues with Drummond have been documented in his personnel file.

Bowlen, however, has a lengthy personnel file despite working for the city for only three years – from December 2013 to May 2016.

The suit Bowlen filed in federal court alleges wrongful termination, but documents in her personnel file showed she never returned after medical leave taken at the beginning of 2016.

Bowlen worried she could not return to work free from harassment despite reassurance from city officials.

At a “disability separation hearing,” the city determined Bowlen was unable to perform essential job duties because of her disabilities.

Despite a claim in her lawsuit the city did not attempt to contact her doctor, paperwork in her personnel file suggests it did.

Further, the investigation found overtime was distributed evenly, and Bowlen had refused earlier requests to work overtime.

Drummond didn’t allow her to drive a truck after an incident in which she nearly hit two women. Bowlen acknowledged this, and she did not deny she was texting at the time.

She also had issues with a previous supervisor who no longer works in a management role.

He reacted when she told him she doesn’t like to be pressured and works at her own pace.

The city maintains it acted appropriately in addressing Bowlen’s complaints.

“We had a proper sexual-harassment policy in place,” said Martin Hume, law director. “We appropriately investigated all of her complaints and took appropriate action.”

Bowlen’s lawsuit has been referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert.

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