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Case 1:16-mi-99999-UNA Document 3050 Filed 12/16/16 Page 1 of 15

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ATLANTA DIVISION
WENDY JANET BENSON,

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Plaintiff,
v.
SOLVAY SPECIALTY POLYMERS
USA, LLC
Defendant.

CIVIL ACTION NO.

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

COMPLAINT
COMES NOW Plaintiff, Wendy Janet Benson (hereinafter Plaintiff), by and
through her undersigned counsel, and sets forth this Complaint for Damages against
the above-named Defendant Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC (hereinafter
Solvay or Defendant Employer). Plaintiff respectfully shows this Court as
follows:

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JURISDICTION
1.
This action is for sexual harassment, race discrimination and retaliation
arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, 42 U.S.C.
2000e, et seq. (hereinafter Title VII), and related state-law claims: assault,
battery, and negligent retention and supervision. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and
attorneys fees and costs.
VENUE
2.
Venue is proper pursuant to, inter alia, 28 U.S.C. Section 1391(b)(2) and 42
U.S.C. Section 2000e-(f)(3). Moreover, the unlawful employment practices alleged
below were committed within the geographic boundaries of the Atlanta Division,
Northern District of the United States District Court, within the state of Georgia.
3.
Defendant Employer operates within the geographic boundaries of the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

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4.
This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Employer as its registered
agent is located within the geographic boundaries of this Court and operate within
the geographic boundaries of this Court.

PARTIES AND JURISDICTION


5.
Plaintiff is a female citizen of the United States, and resides in Georgia.
6.
Solvay is a for-profit corporation organized under the laws of the state of
Texas and registered to conduct business in the state of Georgia.
7.
This Court has personal jurisdiction over Solvay.
8.
Solvay may be served through its Registered Agent, Corporation Service
Company, 40 Technology Parkway South, Suite 300, Norcross, Georgia, 30092, if
service of process is not waived.

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FACTS
9.
Solvay is a world leader in high performance polymers offering an unmatched
portfolio of specialty polymers with over 35 product lines available in more than
1500 formulations designed for use in demanding markets around the world.
10.
Solvay employed fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of
twenty or more calendar weeks throughout 2015 and 2016.
11.
Solvay is subject to the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
12.
Plaintiff began working for Defendant Employer in or around September of
2014 as a temporary employee.
13.
In or around September of 2014, Plaintiff held a temporary position at Solvay
as an R&D Technician, Plaintiff job was to set up extruders for scientist for
experimental runs, commercial runs and industrial runs.

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14.
Plaintiff was soon promoted to a fulltime position in December of 2014
making $22.11 per hour.
15.
Plaintiff was assigned to work with a team consisting predominately of males.
16.
Almost immediately after Plaintiff began working, the men on her team began to
subject her to sexually harassing comments.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT
17.
Daily, male co-workers made sexual innuendos to Plaintiff and talked about
Plaintiffs breasts and buttocks.
18.
Additionally, male co-workers would often ask her out on dates and would
walk behind Plaintiff and press their bodies onto her in a sexual manner.
19.
A male co-worker showed plaintiff his erection, and told Plaintiff he thought
about her sexually all the time.
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20.
Plaintiffs immediate lead was Morgan Prince (hereinafter Mr. Prince). Mr.
Prince would also make sexually harassing comments toward Plaintiff. Mr. Prince
would call Plaintiff sugar pants and ask Plaintiff to stay at his place. Mr. Prince
would also give Plaintiff uncomfortably close hugs.
21.
Plaintiff repeatedly made sexual harassment complaints to her Supervisor Ken
Hawkins (hereinafter Mr. Hawkins), her claims were never investigated and the
sexual harassment continued.
22.
Plaintiff continued to be harassed by male co-workers on a near daily basis.
RACE
23.
Plaintiff, co-worker Mike Parks (hereinafter Mr. Parks) subjected Plaintiff
to racial slurs. For example, he constantly used words like Nigger when referring
to African Americans in the workplace.

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24.
Plaintiff reported Mr. Parks racist comments to Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Hawkins
advised Plaintiff that he would take care of it, but to Plaintiffs knowledge Mr.
Hawkins never investigation Mr. Parks comments.

RETALIATION
25.
On or around March 3, 2016, Plaintiff received a text message from Mr.
Hawkins, advising plaintiff to meet with Human Resources (hereinafter HR).
26.
Plaintiff attended a meeting with HR Representative Keri Williams
(hereinafter Ms. Williams), Ms. Williams advised Plaintiff that three employees
had made complaints against her and were not willing to work with her. Plaintiff
was shocked and upset with Ms. Williams during the meeting. Plaintiff complained
again of sexual harassment and race discrimination in the workplace, this time to
Ms. Williams.
27.
Despite Plaintiffs multiple complaints of sexual harassment and Race
Discrimination to Mr. Hawkins, Solvay took no action to investigate Plaintiffs
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complaints or to prevent further sexual harassment, race discrimination and/or


retaliation against Plaintiff.
28.
To Plaintiffs knowledge, Solvay did not request to interview Plaintiffs coworkers regarding Plaintiffs complaints of sexual harassment and race
discrimination.
29.
On or about March 17, 2016, approximatively 2 weeks after meeting with HR
and complaining again of SH, Plaintiff was terminated.
30.
The termination of Plaintiffs employment was to further retaliate against
Plaintiff for her complaints of sexual harassment and race discrimination.
31.
On or around March 31, 2016, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (hereinafter EEOC).
32.
A true and accurate copy of Plaintiffs Charge of Discrimination against
Defendant Employer is attached hereto as Exhibit A and is incorporated herein.

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33.
On or around October 6, 2016, the Equal Opportunity Employment
Commission issued Plaintiff a Notice of Right to Sue, a copy of which is attached
hereto as Exhibit B and is incorporated herein.
34.
This suit has been commenced within ninety (90) days of the Plaintiffs receipt
of the Notice of Right to Sue.

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION: VIOLATION OF TITLE VII SEXUAL


HARASSMENT
35.
Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-34, above, as if fully set forth
herein.
36.
Plaintiff belongs to a protected group (female) as defined by Title VII.
37.
After Plaintiff began working for Defendant Employer, male co-workers
began sexually harassing Plaintiff.

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38.
The harassment of Plaintiff was unwelcome and because of her gender, as
male co-workers did not sexually harass any male employees.
39.
This unwelcome sexual harassment was sufficiently severe and/or pervasive
as to alter the terms and conditions of Plaintiffs employment and/or to create a
hostile and discriminatorily abusive working environment.
40.
Defendant Employer knew or should have known that male co-workers were
sexually harassing Plaintiff and failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial
measures to stop the harassment.
41.
As a direct and proximate result of the above mentioned discriminatory
conduct, Plaintiff suffered damages including lost wages and benefits, diminished
employment opportunities and emotional distress, for which Defendant Employer is
liable.

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SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION: UNLAWFUL RETALIATIONVIOLATION OF TITLE VII


42.
Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-41, above, as if fully set forth
herein.
43.
Plaintiff engaged in protected activity under Title VII by making complaints
sexual harassment to her supervisors regarding male co-workers.
44.
Subsequent to Plaintiffs multiple complaints of sexual harassment, Plaintiffs
employment was terminated for a pretextual reason.
45.
The reason for Plaintiffs termination was to retaliate against Plaintiff for
Plaintiffs complaints of sexual harassment.
46.
As a direct and proximate result of the above mentioned discriminatory
conduct, Plaintiff suffered lost wages and benefits, diminished employment
opportunities and emotional distress, for which Defendant Employers are liable.

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THIRD AND FOURTH CAUSES OF ACTION: ASSAULT AND BATTERY


47.
Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-46, above, as if fully set forth
herein.
48.
Plaintiff endured actions that led her to reasonably anticipate and fear that
male employees of Defendant Employer would engage in unwanted touching and
sexual conduct toward Plaintiff, which was unwelcome and without the consent of
Plaintiff.
49.
Male employees of Defendant Employer engaged in unwanted touching and
sexual conduct toward Plaintiff that was offensive, unwelcome, and without the
consent of Plaintiff.
50.
Based on their actual and constructive knowledge of Defendant Employees
misconduct and propensity for such misconduct, combined with their failure to
intercede on Plaintiffs behalf, Solvay condoned, adopted, and ratified male
employees of Defendant Employers conduct, making Defendant Employer
responsible for the assault and battery of Plaintiff.
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51.
Solvays refusal to discipline Defendant Employees and take actions to
prevent the assault and battery of Plaintiff makes Solvay independently liable for the
assault and battery of Plaintiff.
SEVENTH AND EIGHT CAUSES OF ACTION: NEGLIGENT
SUPERVISION/ RETENTION
52.
Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-51, above, as if fully set forth
herein.
53.
Solvay knew that Defendant employees were sexually harassing Plaintiff
because of Plaintiffs complaints of sexual harassment and the open and obvious
nature of Defendant employees conduct in the workplace.
54.
Solvay failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial steps to protect Plaintiff
from sexual harassment, assault, and battery by Defendant employees.
55.
Further, after Solvay received complaints of sexual harassment against
Defendant employees, Defendant Employer failed to monitor and protect Plaintiff
from sexual harassment, assault, and from being battered by Defendant employees.
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56.
As a result of Solvays negligent retention and/or supervision, Plaintiff
suffered damages in the form of lost wages and benefits, significantly diminished
employment opportunities, and emotional distress.
57.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands a trial by jury and for the following relief:
(a) that Summons issue;
(b) that Defendants be served with Summons and Complaint;
(c) that trial by jury of all issues be had;
(d) that judgment be issued against Defendants for any and all general, special,
and where applicable, punitive damages as allowed by law under each and
every count and cause of action contained in this Complaint;
(e) for all costs of this action to be taxed against the Defendants;
(f) for all costs and attorneys fees to be awarded to Plaintiff; and,
(g) for any and all other further relief as this Court may deem just and equitable
under the circumstances.

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Respectfully submitted this 16th day of December, 2016.

s/ J. Stephen Mixon
J. Stephen Mixon, Esq.
Georgia Bar No. 514050
Attorney for Plaintiff

MILLAR & MIXON, LLC


1691 Phoenix Boulevard
Suite 150
Atlanta, Georgia 30349
770-955-0100

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