Sexual harassment lawsuits and complaints are being filed left and right in various states naming lawmakers, legislators, actors and actresses as the culprit in the alleged act. Now, an employee who works for the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority VIII has decided to file a federal sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit that accuses executive director Jessie Billups of making unwanted sexual advances toward her. Philana Harrell is the woman who has decided to come forward with these allegations making the public now aware of yet another sexual misconduct case.

In the lawsuit, Harrell alleges that Billups made sexual advances toward her last fall and because she rejected these advances, he retaliated against her, something many victims are fearful of which is why most refrain from coming forward with their claims. As a result of the turndown, Billups “cut her pay, demoted her, and created a hostile work environment by encouraging other employees to be hostile toward her” [Source: WLOX News Now]. Unfortunately, Harrell is still working at the Region 8 Housing Authority and says she endures daily harassment because she chose to speak out about the conditions she has been subjected to work under.

Harrell even emailed WLOX News Now and told the source that she has had to “endure five-plus months of retaliation, indirect and direct harassment through various employees that Jessie Billups uses, been diagnosed with major depression and PTSD.” Because of the abuse and effects this treatment has had on Harrell, her lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks monetary damages for lost wages, emotional distress, past and future medical expenses, and punitive damages. She has named MRHA board and accused members of failing to act on her complaints.

Harrell also stated that this issue is ongoing in her agency and that many other employees have suffered from similar harassment.  She mentioned that the “harassment, hostile work environment, and overall abuse of power and intimidation are overwhelming.” While she has been brave enough to remain employed with the agency despite the harsh treatment she has endured, hopefully, when her case is taken before a judge, justice will be served.


Why should victims speak out and refrain from being silent?


Speaking out when sexually harassed is important for everyone to do as it helps bring more attention to the issue and recognize a person or people for their wrongdoing. Although some cases prove to be more difficult to deal with, by remaining silent and not voicing your concerns will only enable the person to continue behaving in the inappropriate manner that they have been. As for Harrell’s case, although Billups has continued to display disrespectful behavior, because she spoke up, her story has made news headlines and now her case is going to get its day in court.

Are you the victim of sexual misconduct? Are you worried about coming out and telling your story? If so, you might want to speak with a Mississippi sexual harassment attorney first as they can prep you for this and support you along the way. If you would like to be connected now with some of the top performing lawyers in the state of Mississippi, call today.