A Belleair Bluffs financial services firm is facing a lawsuit claiming wrongful termination on the basis of gender, disability and religious affiliation as well as allegations of sexual harassment.
The harassment claims target former Tampa Bay Lighting President Ron Campbell.
Jennifer Bowser, a former executive administrative assistant for Seminole Financial Services, is suing the firm for back pay, front pay and compensatory damages in a lawsuit filed in Pinellas County Court Feb. 6. The allegations in the suit have not been tried and have not yet been proven.
Bowser began working for Seminole Financial in 2001, but took a three year leave of absence to battle breast cancer from 2014-2017. She returned to the firm in 2017. After her return, Bowser claims Campbell consistently made sexual innuendos in conversation.
Among those, she claims, Campbell frequently discussed his use of erectile dysfunction medication and, at one point, insinuated Bowser take a hot shower with him.
When Bowser brought the offending statements up with another female, she was allegedly told, “get used to it, Mr. Campbell is the type of guy that will smack you on your a** and go on with his day.”
In another instance, Bowser said a female employee asked her if she kept rosary beads at her desk as “all good Catholic girls” do. Bowser explained that she was not Catholic and then was told she had fallen out of “the flock.”
Eventually, Bowser said she complained about the harassment, but her complaint was ignored. She then went to the another company executive and had a closed-door meeting to discuss her complaints, but was similarly dismissed with little recourse for her concerns.
When Bowser learned she required another surgery to treat her cancer, the company informed her that they were removing her from the company’s insurance plan because she was costing them too much money.
Bowers was subsequently terminated, she claims because of her medical disability, religious affiliation and in retribution for her complaints about harassment. In the complaint, Bowser’s counsel argues the termination violated the Florida Civil Rights Act.