07/28/04 — Man accuses co-worker of sexual harassment

View Archive

Man accuses co-worker of sexual harassment

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 28, 2004 2:04 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Stanley Craig Odom has filed a lawsuit against the town of Mount Olive accusing a male employee of sexual harassment.

The lawsuit, filed July 16 in the Eastern District Court, alleges Odom was sexually harassed while he was employed as an emergency medical technician. It says this created a "hostile work environment" and that Odom repeatedly complained to his supervisor, Charles Swinson, about offensive conduct and that Swinson "refused to do anything to stop it."

The lawsuit says Odom received a letter of reprimand in July 2003, shortly after he complained about the sexual harassment. It says that on July 14, Odom was called into the office of Town Manager Ray McDonald. The suit said the co-worker who harassed him was David Lane, who is also an emergency medical technician.

"Charles Swinson was present. ... Ray McDonald told the plaintiff that he had better 'keep his mouth shut' and not complain any more about David Lane. ... Both Ray McDonald and Charles Swinson told the plaintiff that if he persisted, they would see that he was 'kicked out' of the paramedic program at Wayne Community College and that he would never be hired by the Wayne County Emergency Services Department."

The lawsuit says that since then Odom has tried several times unsuccessfully to gain employment as a paramedic or emergency medical technician. He is asking for back pay, legal fees and compensation for financial losses, emotional pain and deprivation of his civil and constitutional rights.

Odom is asking for a jury trial and so is the town.

Town Manager Ray McDonald said Tuesday he can't see anything in the lawsuit that's truthful. He said the reprimand Odom received was for destroying legal papers, and he stands by that reprimand.

"He told us after the reprimand," said McDonald. "I told him to go home and put it in writing, and we would have (town attorney) Carroll Turner investigate it. That was the first I had heard about it. How could it be retaliation. ... He was a part-time employee, a fill-in man. He didn't work for us that much."