Mediation to take place in harassment suit

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By Lisa King

Shelby County Circuit Judge Charles Hickman granted a request Wednesday for mediation in a sexual harassment suit filed by a city employee.

Hickman did not schedule a court date, but told attorneys for employee Debbie Clarke and Shelbyville Municipal Water and Sewer Commission and manager Tom Doyle, to confer and get back with him to schedule a date for the mediation.

If the mediation does not bring a resolution, then a trial date would be set, Hickman told attorneys Jennifer McCarty, representing Clarke, Chris Mayer, representing Doyle, and Osbourn, attorney for the Commission.

Clarke, of Mount Eden Road, had filed the suit in December 2011, alleging sexual harassment and assault and battery. The suit also names the commission, saying that certain members in management knew of Doyle’s inappropriate behavior and did not discipline or terminate him, nor decreased his supervision.

Clarke had been cleaning the offices at the water company since 2003, and claims that the harassment began in 2009.

A second employee, Tonya Stearman, a 12-year employee, filed suit against Doyle in January 2013, also claiming sexual harassment. Both women say that Doyle touched them in inappropriate places and both are still employed at the water company, as is Doyle.

McCarty is also representing Stearman, but Wednesday’s mediation request only applies to Clarke’s suit. McCarty has asked that Stearman’s suit could be included, as a joint mediation, but Hickman has not yet granted that request.

Clarke’s suit asks for a trail by jury, actual and compensatory damages in amounts to be determined by a jury, damages in the form of back pay, front pay and benefits, damages for humiliation and embarrassment and costs of attorney fees.