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Iowa Tractor-Trailer Business Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

A recent sexual harassment lawsuit against the Iowa-based tractor-trailer business Housby Mack Inc., has resulted in a $500,000 settlement for a former female employee. While many lawsuits such as this contain confidentiality clauses, this case is somewhat unusual in that a settlement was reached, but the victim of the sexual harassment was not prohibited from discussing the matter.

The former employee who brought the lawsuit, Sandra Peddicord, worked for Housby Mack handling marketing issues for them from November of 2006 until the summer of 2008. In her case, she alleged a long list of actions constituting sexual harassment or creating a hostile work environment, including unwanted hugs and kisses to her forehead, inappropriate sexual comments about her body, the telling of sex-themed stories during business meetings, and the constant presence of Internet pornography in the workplace.

According to Peddicord, the result of the harassment was an unbearable sense of anxiety and panic attacks. In the course of the lawsuit, Peddicord described the firing of another female as a sort of tipping point. After the other employee was fired, Peddicord reportedly described the working environment to a lawyer hired by the business, who then instructed the business to update its employment handbook. The episode allegedly angered her superiors, who felt that it was an effort to ruin any "fun" in the workplace. Peddicord was finally terminated from her position in August of 2008. 

According to Kevin and Kelly Housby, the owners of the business, Peddicord was fired purely for economic reasons. They disputed her allegations and claimed that, while they appreciated her marketing expertise at the company, they were forced to let her go because of economic conditions and large losses suffered over the last few years.

Related Resources:

Iowa exec who alleged sexual harassment gets $500,000 settlement (Des Moines Register.com)

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