IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA
SANDRA D. KEESEE,
v. CASE NO.:
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.
COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff, SANDRA D. KEESEE (hereinafter “KEESEE”), by and through her undersigned counsel, sues Defendant, BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., and alleges as follows:
1. This is an action for damages that exceed $15,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney’s fees.
2. The unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed within Brevard County, Florida.
3. Plaintiff resides in Brevard County, Florida, and has at all times material herein, resided in Brevard County, Florida.
4. Defendant, BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. is a foreign corporation doing business in Brevard County, Florida and at the time of the acts complained of herein, employed 15 or more persons.
5. Plaintiff KEESEE is an African American female.
6. Plaintiff has retained the undersigned attorney and agreed to pay a
7. On or about October 10, 2002, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (attached hereto as Exhibit “A”) alleging discrimination based on sexual harassment and retaliation.
8. Plaintiff’s Charge of Discrimination was prepared by the Orlando Human Relations Department and was forwarded to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
9. Pursuant to the Work Share Agreement between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations, Plaintiff’s charge of discrimination was dual-filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations when she filed her charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
10. More than one hundred eighty (180) days have passed since Plaintiff’s initial Charge of Discrimination was dual-filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and the Florida Commission on Human Relations has not entered a determination on Plaintiff’s claim.
11. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
12. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
13. At all times, Plaintiff performed all of the duties assigned to her in a professionally competent manner, faithfully followed all reasonable instructions given to her by her supervisors, and abided by all the rules and regulations of Defendant.
14. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant and it’s predecessors from approximately March 1990 until January 17, 2003.
15. In 1999 Plaintiff was employed as a Teller Coordinator at the Defendant’s Nasa Blvd. location, but she stepped down to a less demanding Senior Teller Position while she returned to college to finish her Business degree from Barry University.
16. In December 2001, Plaintiff began to experience sexual harassment from her manager. Plaintiff asked her manager to stop sexually harassing her but after making the complaint the sexual harassment continued and Plaintiff also started receiving reprimands from her manager without due cause.
17. On April 20, 2002, Plaintiff made a written complaint about the sexual harassment that she had experienced from her manager in a letter to the Regional Manager and requested a transfer. After she made the complaint, the Regional Manager approved a lateral transfer for Plaintiff to Defendant’s Lake Washington location.
18. On May 6, 2002, Plaintiff started at the Defendant’s Lake Washington location.
19. After Plaintiff’s transfer to the Defendant’s Lake Washington location on May 6, 2002, Plaintiff’s operational duties, responsibilities and her authority limits were reduced from what her responsibilities had been at the Defendant’s Nasa Blvd. location.
20. In June 2002, Plaintiff graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Barry University.
21. From approximately June 2002 until January 17, 2003, Plaintiff made numerous requests to receive training and be promoted. Plaintiff was denied training and was not promoted. Employees who were granted training and/or promotions were not African American and were less qualified and had less experience than Plaintiff, who is African American.
22. On or about October 10, 2002, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations alleging discrimination based on sexual harassment and retaliation.
23. In December 2002, Plaintiff made a complaint to management that a white male co-worker was making degrading sexual and racial comments to her but no action was taken.
24. On or about January 13, 2003, Plaintiff received a final written warning regarding policy and procedure violations. Other employees who had made similar policy and procedure violations were not written up. The final written warning issued to Plaintiff also referenced an alleged prior verbal counseling of Plaintiff on November 20, 2002, but Plaintiff did not receive a verbal counseling on November 20, 2002.
25. On or about January 16, 2003, Plaintiff requested a transfer from the Defendant’s Lake Washington Branch location to another location.
26. On or about January 17, 2003, approximately three months after filing her sexual harassment and retaliation claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Plaintiff was terminated by Defendant from her position as a Senior Teller at the Lake Washington Branch of Bank of America.
27. This is an action for damages for retaliation in violation of Chapter 760, Florida Statutes, The Florida Civil Rights Act.
28. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 26 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
29. Subsequent to Plaintiff making an internal complaint of sexual harassment to Defendant and because Plaintiff made an internal complaint of sexual harassment, Plaintiff experienced retaliation by Defendant.
30. Subsequent to Plaintiff filing a charge of sexual harassment and retaliation by Defendant to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations and because Plaintiff made a charge of sexual harassment and retaliation to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Florida Commission on Human Relations, Plaintiff has continued to experience retaliatory acts by Defendant including termination.
31. The acts alleged in this Complaint constitute a violation of Section 760.10(7), Florida Statutes, “It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer…to discriminate against any person because that person has opposed any practice which is an unlawful employment practice under this section, or because that person has made a charge, testified, assisted in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this section.”
32. As a result of the retaliation perpetrated by Defendant against Plaintiff, Plaintiff has sustained lost income and suffered emotional damages in the form of severe mental anguish, emotional distress and loss of dignity, and was terminated from her position by Defendant.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, but not limited to:
A. Judgement for back pay, front pay, expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search, and loss of benefits, including, but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, loss of vacation entitlement, loss of stock
options, loss of retirement benefits and loss of tuition reimbursement;
B. Compensatory damages including, but not limited to, mental anguish, loss of dignity and other intangible injuries;
C. Punitive damages;
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and
E. All other damages to which Plaintiff may be entitled.
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.
DATED this _____day of September 2003.
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
Wayne L. Allen & Associates, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681