The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is facing a lawsuit from a former employee who says she was sexually harassed.
Tammy Fries first joined HART in 2008 as an administrative assistant. She was subsequently promoted to a grants assistant in 2012, a project coordinator in 2013 and project manager in 2015.
HART fired her last year claiming she “was not qualified to do her job,” according to the lawsuit. Fries also allegedly was paid for three months despite not working, according to an internal investigation covered in the Tampa Bay Times.
Fries’ lawsuit claims her boss, former acting Chief Financial Officer Lucien Campillo, subjected her to “frequent amorous advances” and other forms of harassment including placing his hand on her knee while the two were driving and sending text messages with heart emojis. She claims Campillo became hostile toward her after she rejected his advances and then complained to HART’s human resources department.
Fries is seeking monetary damages of an undisclosed amount for sexual harassment, disparate treatment, retaliation, and being subjected to a hostile work environment.
HART declined to comment on the case because they don’t comment on pending litigation, but in a statement said the agency is “committed to a diverse, inclusive and harassment-free workplace.”
Campillo joined HART in 2015 as a senior project manager. He was promoted to acting Chief Financial Officer in late 2017 after CFO Jeff Seward became interim CEO while the agency began its search for a new leader.
After Fries filed a formal complaint about Campillo’s treatment, the agency opened an internal investigation that found he had flirtatious behavior with Fries and engaged in sexual conversations with her but stopped short of considering the actions sexual harassment. They recommended suspending Campillo for two weeks without pay and ordered him to take a sexual harassment training course, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Instead, Campillo resigned saying he was not comfortable admitting wrongdoing where he believed there was none.
The complaint against Campillo was not the only time Fries took issue with her work environment. She filed a stalking complaint against another male employee in 2015 alleging he followed her to her home. A restraining order was issued in that case.
Fries filed her suit in Hillsborough County Court last month, but the case was moved to federal court earlier this month.