Former City of Gretna employee sues over alleged violation of whistleblower act

By Kyle Barnett | Nov 14, 2013

David A. Capasso

GRETNA –The City of Gretna, employees and officials are being sued by a former employee claiming whistleblower violations and sexual discrimination.

Christine Widish filed suit against City of Gretna, City of Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant, former mayor of the City of Gretna Ronnie Harris, David Neeb and Mahmoud Bahman in the 24th Judicial District Court on Oct. 21.

Widish, who had been employed as a cashier in the city's finance department for more than a year, alleges that after she was promoted to a position within the city’s water department and within a few days of employment she was subjected to overt sexual statements and gestures by Bahman, a senior employee within the department, the lawsuit states.

Widish claims that after two months of the alleged sexual harassment she requested a meeting with her immediate supervisor. After that Bahman’s behavior worsened, she claims, including him allegedly snapping her bra strap and making comments about her breasts. Two weeks later the plaintiff claims that the stress in working in such an environment was too much for her and she left work early one day and called in sick the next day.

Widish alleges that she then met with Neeb, Harris and her supervisor and three days later she was terminated from the city’s employment.

The defendant is accused of wrongful termination in violation of state whistleblower statutes and sexual discrimination and harassment.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for economic loss, physical distress, emotional distress and compensatory awards including back pay.

Widish is represented by David A. Capasso of the Gretna-based Law Office of Capasso & Associates LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division P Judge Lee V. Faulkner Jr.

Case no. 732-185.

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