Penn State denied allegations on Dec. 30 from a former dishwasher at The Nittany Lion Inn who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a cook she worked with, according to court documents.
Jane Doe, a pseudonym for the former dishwasher, filed charges against Penn State Nov. 1 after she claimed she was sexually assaulted by James Roe, a pseudonym for the cook, resulting in her pregnancy.
Penn State was charged with three violations of Title VII including sexual harassment/hostile work environment, constructive discharge and retaliation, court documents said.
Additionally, the university was charged with two violations of Title IX including sexual harassment/hostile work environment and retaliation, according to court documents.
In a response to Doe’s complaint, Penn State denied the allegations and wrote, “any damages sustained by Plaintiff were due to her own acts or omissions, not the acts or omissions of Defendant,” court documents said.
In Penn State’s response, the university claimed Doe had not provided enough evidence to support a trial or judgment, according to court documents.
“[Doe] has failed to articulate a prima facie claim in support of each and every cause of action set forth or purported to be set forth in her Complaint and she will be unable to establish the necessary elements in support of each such cause of action at trial,” court documents said.
Doe began working as a dishwasher at The Nittany Lion Inn from April 29, 2019, court documents said.
Doe was allegedly sexually assaulted by Roe on Dec. 13, 2019 at his residence.
“At all relevant times, Mr. Roe was [Doe's] direct supervisor,” court documents said.
Doe learned she was pregnant Jan. 7, 2020 and informed Jamison Steffen, a executive sous chef at The Nittany Lion Inn, she could no longer lift more than 50 pounds due to her “high risk” pregnancy.
On or about Jan. 7, 2020, Doe also informed Roe of her pregnancy, to which Roe responded by allegedly beginning to harass her, according to court documents.
Roe allegedly told Doe to tell coworkers she had a one night stand and didn’t know who the father of the child was and said he wanted no involvement with the child, court documents said.
Roe also allegedly told Doe to get an abortion, court documents said.
On Feb. 10 2020, Doe reported Roe’s harassment to Carol Eicher, human resources consultant.
Doe allegedly told Eicher that Roe had sexually assaulted her and had been harassing her since he learned of the pregnancy, court documents said.
Eicher allegedly said Penn State would address her claim, according to court documents.
Approximately one week later, Eicher called Doe to tell her she had spoken with Steffen and decided she would be relocated to The Nittany Lion Inn’s housekeeping department, according to court documents.
According to court documents, Doe did not want to work in housekeeping because she had the goal of working up to the chef position and working in housekeeping would result in a pay cut.
In Penn State's response, the university claimed "all actions taken by [Penn State] relative to [Doe's] employment were based on lawful, legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory business factors and were not based on the illegal factors alleged by [Doe]."
The charges were filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District Pennsylvania under Honorable Judge Matthew Brann.
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