Water worker had breast reduction to stop harassment; then she was fired
A former Great Lakes Water Authority worker is suing the authority after she said she was fired after complaining about sexual harassment and discrimination related to the size of her breasts.
According to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Nicole Massey, who worked at the authority’s predecessor, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, for 15 years before the water authority's official launch in 2016 — “was continuously berated and mocked” over her cleavage, given uniform violations and “became a daily topic of conversation” among co-workers and supervisors.
“She was constantly told she needed a more supportive bra and often accused of not wearing a bra,” the filing claims. “Plaintiff complained about the harassment and discrimination to upper management who did nothing to stop or prevent the harassment and discrimination and, in fact, participated ...”
Unable to endure the attention that took place "on a regular basis over more than a year" and seeking a more tolerable workplace environment, Massey underwent breast reduction surgery in November 2017, but a supervisor demanded she return to work early from an approved medical leave, then terminated her “in retaliation for complaining about sex and gender harassment and discrimination,” the lawsuit said.
Reached for a response, Michelle Zdrodowski, the authority's chief public affairs officer, said in an email Monday night: “The Great Lakes Water Authority has not yet seen a copy of the complaint, and therefore, is not in the position to make a statement.”
Two months ago, the United States Department of Justice, in coordination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, issued a right-to-sue letter, Massey’s lawyers said.
The suit alleges the water authority violated the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and seeks a judgment of at least $75,000.