A former supervisor of Air Mobility Command has been accused of sexually harassing three civilian female employees. Mary K. Reid was sacked from her job as chief of the Department of Defense Commercial Airlift Division at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, last October following an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment.
According to an in St. Clair County sheriff’s department report, she also faces a misdemeanor battery charge for sexually assaulting a female employee. She is alleged to have grabbed the breasts of the employee and had on an earlier occasion grabbed and massaged her buttocks as well. Reid is also accused of exposing her breasts to the female employee in the restroom under the guise of wanting an opinion about her breast implants.
Victim fears retaliation, fails to lodge early complaint
According to the complaint, the victim feared retaliation from Reid and therefore did not complain about her earlier. Sexual harassment attorney for the accused said his client pleaded not guilty and claims money to be the motivating factor for the plaintiffs. Separate interviews of both male and female employees continued through the whole of the first week of March. According to latest reports in the Air Force Times, claims were settled by the 375th Air Mobility Wing’s Equal Opportunity Office.
AMC says appropriate measures taken
AMC judge advocate Col. James Dapper said appropriate actions were taken against Reid. She is expected to appear before a Federal Merit System Protection Board on March 31st with reference to her job while a motions hearing is set for March 18th in the criminal case. Details of the commander-directed investigation by the AMC have not been made public.
Details of investigation not disclosed
The alleged victim of sexual harassment first filed a complaint with the coordinator of the 375th Air Mobility Wing’s Sexual Assault Response, which was then referred to the Equal Opportunity Office. According to Dapper, the claims in the complaint have been resolved. He refused to divulge any details of the nature of the allegations and said that the case was carefully investigated by an experienced office among the highest levels of leadership.
The command’s assistant operations director, Col. Michael Zick said that the victims as well as witnesses were given guidance and care. According to Zick, action was taken against others in addition to Reid’s firing. Some people want to know how Reid made it this high up with an attitude such as this?
However, he declined to provide further details on what disciplinary action was taken and against how many. The operations director admitted that the unit needed to do better in terms of professionalism, dignity, and respect. Around the time of Reid’s firing, the Air Force conducted focus groups after an AMC command climate survey indicated low morale amongst employees and issues of sexual harassment.
Important practices to avoid lawsuit
According to sexual harassment attorneys, there are a few important things employers and managers can do to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit. Employers and management need to take a proactive approach in explaining their policies on sexual harassment. Managers and supervisors must be made aware of their duties in responding to complaints. A response to any sexual harassment complaint must be made immediately, which must be followed by a thorough and prompt investigation.