Wells, ME-They may make nice smelling candles to fill a house with the pleasant scents of tea, wood, or lavender, but something stinks at Village Candle, namely the pervasive sexual harassment three women allege they suffered at the hands of the company’s founder and president Paul Aldrich.

In three separate lawsuits, employees at the Wells, Maine business allege Aldrich subjected them to unwanted touching and sexual advances, discrimination and retaliation. The lawsuit also accuses Aldrich of assault, hours and wage violations along with other labor violations.

The complaints filed by Cynthia Rowe, former vice president of sales and marketing; her daughter Cassie Laughlin, formerly a retail sales manager for Village; and Heidi MacDonald, who worked as a debt-collector, allege that the sexual harassment began over a decade ago in 2001. According the suits, Aldrich forced a female employee at the time to have after work dinners with and once asked her to masturbate in front of him.

The complaints state that Aldrich asked female employees intimate questions about whether they shave their pubic hair, if they had even been paid for sex and talked about anal sex, the Portland Press Herald reported.

In one incident, which occurred on Halloween, Aldrich who was dressed in a gorilla suit picked up and threw Laughlin over his shoulder hence the assault and battery charges.

Rowe’s complaint alleges she was fired after she complained about him “rubbing up against her” on numerous occasions and she rebuffed his sexual advances. She suffered neck, back, shoulders and head for which she sought medical treatment and was hostile when she asked for “reasonable accommodations” for her medical conditions.

MacDonald’s complaint alleges Aldrich touched her inappropriately and made repeated sexual advances causing her extreme anxiety and panic.

In all three complaints, the women allege that Village Candle knew of Aldrich’s harassment but did not take corrective actions.

Aldrich of course denies the numerous allegations contained on the three complaints. His attorney Stephen Langsdorf said litigation will prove the women working to together to bring their lawsuit forward, the Bangor Daily News reported.

All three women are seeking damages and a jury trial.

Any employer who has more than 15 employees is required by federal law to protect their employees from sexual harassment regardless of who the perpetrator is, but as sexual harassment attorneys know many companies fail to do so. Even worse, many companies choose to punish the complainant either by firing them or making the work environment so toxic they chose to quit. For this reason, the law allows a victim of sexual harassment to redress these issues through a civil lawsuit.

If a persons is repeatedly sexually harassed or fired for complaining their next action should be to contact a sexual harassment attorney. With legal advice, a victim of sexual harassment will be able to put an end to the harassment and determine if they are eligible to recover their lost wages and damages for their emotional duress.