Alexander's office sued for sexual harassment
by Scott Rogers - posted Monday, October 23rd, 2006 @ 5:00 pm
A former female aid in Congressman Rodney Alexander's Washington, D.C., office has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, alleging sexual harassment against his chief of staff.
Elizabeth Scott, 26, of Washington, D.C., filed the complaint Sept. 27, alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation against her while employed in Alexander's office on Capitol Hill.
The lawsuit was filed against Alexander's office.
Roll Call newspaper in Washington first reported the news concerning Scott's lawsuit Friday.
In her lawsuit, Scott said Royal Alexander, the congressman's chief of staff who isn't related to the congressman, "engaged in a course of misconduct...that included, among other things, inappropriate sex-based comments, ogling and touching."
Scott was employed in Alexander's Capitol Hill office, holding several positions, from fall 2005 to June 2006. She began as an unpaid intern but was hired as the congressman's scheduler in November 2005, a position that paid roughly $30,000 per year.
The lawsuit also alleged that Congressman Alexander paid male and female staff members differently based on their sex.
Scott complained to Congressman Alexander about the unfair treatment and the alleged sexual harassment from Royal Alexander, according to her lawsuit.
No action was taken on either matter, the lawsuit said, but instead, Scott was demoted to a position of staff assistant with lesser duties.
In a prepared statement issued Monday, Congressman Alexander took issue with Scott's allegations that he took no action concerning her complaints about being sexually harassed and being paid less than male employees in his congressional office.
"This is flatly false," Congressman Alexander said.
"Ms. Scott was around me numerous times every day and never met with me or told me anything of the sort. In fact, the first time I learned of Ms. Scott's allegations is when she sent me an e-mail on a Saturday -- the day after her meeting with my chief of staff in which he informed Ms. Scott of my decision to remove her from the scheduler position due to her performance deficiencies. The next communication I received regarding Ms. Scott was two days later, on the following Monday, when her lawyer contacted my office," Congressman Alexander said.
Congressman Alexander said an independent investigation was conducted by a law firm in Washington, D.C., which concluded her allegations did not have any merit.
"This whole matter centers on the fact that Ms. Scott does not want to face her shortcomings as a scheduler," Congressman Alexander said.
"The scheduler position is an extremely demanding and detail-oriented position in a congressional office and some individuals simply cannot keep up with the pace. Ms. Scott is one of those individuals.
"Rather than accept her shortcomings as a scheduler, accept that the independent investigation found no basis for her claims of sexual harassment and accept a new position, Ms. Scott decided to abandon her job and pursue a lawsuit," Congressman Alexander said.
Scott's attorney, Michael J. Hoare of Washington, disagreed with Alexander's assessment of the events surrounding Scott's employment in the congressman's office.
"The congressman is wrong," Hoare told The Citizen Monday afternoon.
"She (Scott) made her complaints before she left her position as scheduler. She talked to Mrs. (Rodney) Alexander and the heads of the two district offices.
"One of the things she was told was not to raise the issue with Rodney Alexander," Hoare said.
Hoare pointed out that Scott wasn't fired from per job. He said she didn't return to work after she and Hoare were told that Alexander alleged that Scott made inappropriate comments to another member of Congress.
"When I asked for the name of that member of Congress, they (Congressman Alexander and/or his attorney) wouldn't or couldn't give it to me," Hoare said.
At that point, according to Hoare, Scott had been demoted in Alexander's office and she never returned to work.
Hoare also pointed out that the investigation of Scott's complaints of sexual harassment was conducted by Congressman Alexander's attorney, Gloria Lett.
Lett works for the House of Representatives.
Scott's lawsuit concluded by stating, "The defendant made Scott's working conditions so intolerable after she complained of unlawful discrimination that she felt compelled to quit her job."
Scott's lawsuit said she lost "economic benefits and experienced emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life."
Revelations of Scott's lawsuit came on the heels of the ongoing page scandal in Congress.
A page from Monroe sponsored by Congressman Alexander recently disclosed that the page had inappropriate communications through e-mails with Mark Foley, a congressman from Florida who resigned from office three weeks ago amid allegations of misconduct with a number of pages in the House of Representatives.
Scott's lawsuit also surfaced in the wake of another staff shake-up in Congressman Alexander's office.
Roughly two months ago, Teresa Mares was fired for writing letters to convicted murder Scott Peterson, the California man who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife during the Christmas holiday season in 2002.
Sam Hanna Jr., publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, contributed to this report.