Shatia Sims already had experience as a pest control technician when she was hired by Truly Nolen in May 2017. But her manager at the company, which is known for its trademark yellow mouse cars, brought her on as a sales associate instead. Sims says he told her he wasn't comfortable making a woman a technician.
From there, things only got worse, Sims alleges in a new lawsuit. As one of the few women on staff at a Broward County office, she endured almost constant sexual harassment from her male co-workers, she says. They often commented on her appearance: One technician asked if she had breast implants and told her: "Your breasts are normally big, but today they look extra-perky. I want to bite them." Another employee, she says, would regularly walk hug her "and in doing so would attempt to put his face in her breasts."
Sims is now suing Truly Nolen for harassment and discrimination. In a complaint filed earlier this month in the Southern District of Florida, Sims, who is black and has a disability, says she also faced unfair treatment based on those characteristics.
"Ms. Sims is a hard-working woman who simply wanted to use her skill set to advance her career and take care of her family," says her attorney, Michelle Cohen Levy. "She does not relish pursuing her claims against Truly Nolen but was ultimately left with no choice given the environment in which she worked and the way Truly Nolen handled the situation."
A Truly Nolen representative declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
According to the complaint, Sims was one of three women working at the Truly Nolen location in Broward County and the only one who didn't perform administrative work. There was frequent chatter among employees about their sex lives. Multiple comments were made about Sims' appearance. Two technicians asked her if she had breast implants, and another told her: "I am trying to stay away from you because I do not want to get in trouble with my
The employee who told her he wanted to bite her breasts also said to her: "You need to wear a sports bra because I cannot concentrate on my work." The comments made her feel uncomfortable and violated, the complaint says.
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Even though she was hired and paid as a sales associate, Sims says she was made to do the work of a technician. The male technicians, she says, "were paid much more."
Additionally, her boss failed to accommodate her request to attend doctor's appointments, take breaks, and occasionally miss work due to her disability. And when Sims said her son was racially profiled by the police, her manager told her: "It's always typical with you guys." He also required that she always have the camera running in her company vehicle — a demand she says was due to her race.
In March 2018, about two weeks after complaining about her treatment, Sims was fired. She was told she wasn't meeting sales goals, her attorney says.
Truly Nolen has not yet filed a response in court.