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Sexual harassment lawsuit targets Cross Environmental Service Inc.

A former employee at a Crystal Springs commercial demolition company filed a lawsuit alleging she was sexually harassed for nine months while working there.

Exhibit A, according to the lawsuit, is a sign that hung in the company vice president's office:

"NOTICE: Sexual harassment in this area will not be reported. However, it will be 'graded.' "

Exhibit B, according to the lawsuit, also hung in the vice president's office. It is a neon sign with an arrow that read: "Live Nudes."

Jessica Lee English of Zephyrhills, who filed the lawsuit June 5, alleges she was subjected to "frequent offensive sexual comments and conduct by employees" at Cross Environmental Services Inc. She was hired there as a remediation assistant in January 2008.

In one instance, the lawsuit says, members of management told English in a "crude manner" that she should perform a striptease with brass poles that were in her office.

In addition, the lawsuit says, male employees touched or tried to touch English in a sexual manner. English was also exposed to pornography in the form of a "large stack" of pornographic magazines and pornographic movies in the offices at her company, the lawsuit says.

English's attorney, Ryan D. Barack, said English told "a number of" people in her company about the harassment, but was fired on Oct. 20 because she reported the incidents. The lawsuit says her gender also played into her termination.

"It's an extraordinary case," said Barack, whose law office is in Clearwater. "To have an actual sign in your workplace that encourages sexual harassment is unprecedented, and very troubling."

English is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

A call to Cross Environmental Services Inc. was not returned Monday. The company's Web site says in addition to demolition, it also performs asbestos removal and indoor air-quality projects.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

Sexual harassment lawsuit targets Cross Environmental Service Inc. 06/15/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 15, 2009 9:25pm]
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