Contact: Gloria Allred
Today we have filed a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit on behalf of Amy-Erin Blakely against The Devereux Foundation, Inc.Ms. Blakely is a former employee and was employed by them from September 1996 until October 28, 2009. She has a BA and an MBA.
During her employment with them Ms. Blakely, age 43, received numerous promotions and raises. At the time of her termination she was Assistant Executive Director of the Devereux Foundation overseeing approximately 900 employees and staff. She had held that position for approximately 6 years.
Ms. Blakely alleges that she was told that other employees complained that they could not concentrate in meetings because all they saw were her “big breasts.” She also alleges that someone in management talked about how large her breasts were and that she needed to “hide them”. She also learned that she had been nicknamed “Big Tittie Baby,” that someone in management wanted to sit next to her “so he can look at her big titties” and that he “loves big titties.” She was also told that a high level executive asked to play tennis with her so that he could watch her in her tennis skirt and “see her big titties bouncing around.”
On another occasion a false allegation was circulated that Ms. Blakely attended a board meeting where she was a presenter with her “boobs hanging out.” In fact she had worn a brown turtle neck sweater and a jacket to the meeting.
On still another occasion she was told by management “you have very large breasts, so does my wife, and I have talked to her about you and your breasts.” She was also told that “you should wear loose fitting clothes or try to hide your breasts because they are too distracting.”
In addition, she alleges that she was told that she was “too sensual” for further advancement to the position of Executive Director. Ms. Blakely was shocked by that comment, since the Devereux Foundation had no written dress code policy and she always dressed in a professional manner.
Because of being forced to endure continuing sexual harassment, discriminatory comments and behavior Ms. Blakely filed an internal grievance in March 2009. Rather than the complaint being taken seriously, however, Ms. Blakely was reprimanded.
When the discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation worsened, she filed a second grievance. Finally, she was terminated on October 28, 2009, the day after she filed her second grievance.
As a result we have filed a lawsuit today in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit for Orange County, Florida (Case Number 10-CA-24564 #37). We allege a violation of Ms. Blakely’s civil rights, specifically the right to be free of gender discrimination, a sexually hostile workplace and retaliation for asserting her rights. We are seeking compensatory damages as permitted by law, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
No woman in the workplace should be forced to suffer sexually discriminatory and disparaging remarks about her breasts, or their size. It is also a violation of the law to prevent a woman from advancement because she is considered “too sensual.”
Amy-Erin Blakely is demonstrating a great deal of courage in speaking out publicly about what she suffered on the job. She is doing so that no other woman will have to suffer what she had to endure while she was employed by Devereux Foundation.
It is 2010. It is long overdue for women to be judged on their merits rather than the size of their breasts.
Attorney at Law
representing Amy-Erin Blakely
November 10, 2010
Note: Florida Counsel: Jill S. Schwartz & Associates, P.A.