Louisiana Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

Worker alleges reprisal for challenging harassment

By Carol Ostrow | Jul 28, 2015

A Louisiana woman is suing an Illinois-based company, alleging unlawful retaliatory discharge, gender discrimination and breach of contract.

Shutasica Irby filed a lawsuit July 13 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Kay and Associates Inc., headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Ill.,  alleging former employer committed sex discrimination in her March job loss.

According to the filing, Irby worked for the defendant as a supply technician, and the employment contract, covering a period from fall 2014 through late October or early November 2015, contained limitations on KAI’s right to terminate the plaintiff.

The lawsuit states Irby, assigned to work at a Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans, heard a staff sergeant “cat-calling” a female co-worker when beckoning her to speak with him March 3.

When a witness allegedly corroborated the man’s unprofessional tone but dismissed it as flirting, the suit says, Irby took issue with his perception, saying that it was not harmless and could lead to serious harassment.

Irby was terminated from her job March 11, following an alleged investigation that concluded Irby verbally assaulted the soldier with whom she spoke, citing infractions including insubordination and profanity. The plaintiff alleges her discharge was intentional, unlawful, gender-based discrimination for her opposing workplace sexual harassment. She says male employees were not fired for engaging in the same conduct of which she was accused.

The plaintiff alleges lost wages and benefits, emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.

Irby seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, punitive damages, interest, attorney fees, expenses and court costs. She is represented by attorney Alan Kansas of Terrytown.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-02571-NJB-DEK.

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