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Agriculture Director Harassment

Jefferson City, MO: (Oct-13-07) Heather Elder brought charges against the Department of Agriculture, alleging that Director Fred Ferrell sexually harassed her. The suit claimed that Ferrell, 66, had repeatedly touched Elder, 36, inappropriately, kissed her near her mouth, and made numerous offensive comments, including that he wanted to see her in a wet T-shirt contest. The suit was filed in May 2006, and was followed by Gov. Matt Blunt asking the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate Elder's accusations against Ferrell.

Based upon the results of the investigation, Blunt imposed a $10,000 fine on Ferrell, suspended him, and required him to apologize and undergo sensitivity training. In a recent development in the case, a settlement was reached with the department, in which it agreed to pay Elder $70,000 to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit. Elder said that after she lodged a complaint, she was forced out of her job. After she left, the Agriculture Department sued her, alleging she was backing out of a settlement agreement. Elder promptly countersued, alleging sexual harassment. [KANSAS CITY STAR: GENDER HARASSMENT]

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Published on Oct-15-07


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