NEW ORLEANS - Two employees for a Tangipahoa Parish physical therapist have filed a lawsuit that claims the therapist subjected them to a hostile work environment which included sexual harassment.

Latori Cooper and Brenda Morris filed suit against Jack O'Neil, Hammond Physical Therapy and XYZ Insurance Co. on March 29 in Tangipahoa Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on July 19.

Cooper and Morris are former employees of Hammond Physical Therapy and claim that they were subjected to numerous acts and offenses committed by defendant O'Neil.

The acts allegedly included sexual harassment, creation of a hostile work environment, assault and battery, forcing the workers to perform work-related tasks which were improper and illegal for them to perform such as performing physical therapy procedures and threatening to fire the workers when they complained about the hostile environment.

Morris resigned on March 23, 2011. Cooper states that she was unlawfully terminated for missing a week of work due to pregnancy-related medical issues.

The defendants are accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by refusing to pay the women overtime wages for their time in which they worked more than 40 hours per workweek.

Cooper and Morris are asking for an award of damages for mental anguish, grief, shock, distress, humiliation, emotional trauma, depression, loss of earnings, loss of enjoyment and disruption of life, interest, attorney's fees, and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Denham Springs attorney A. Todd Caruso.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01889

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