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Kentucky Jail Guard Receives $60,000 Jury Award in Sexual Harassment Suit

 A female corporal at the Fayette County Jail in Kentucky who was sexually harassed by her male supervisors was awarded $60,000 after a jury agreed with her harassment claim but rejected her claim of assault and retaliation.

     Charlotte Trotter began working at the Fayette County Jail in 2000, and by 2009 had advanced to a rank of corporal. According to Trotter, her direct supervisor, Major Michael Korb, sexually assaulted and harassed her on four occasions. The incidents included wanting to tell her about his wet dream and touching her breast. Upon making a complaint about Korb, she was told to keep quiet.

     After Trotter’s complaint, and with an untarnished service record for the previous nine years at the jail, she was investigated and suspended for sleeping on the job. She said she had been on an assigned sleep break and was a little late returning to her post. Because other employees had done the same thing without being severely disciplined, Trotter believed her treatment was a form of retaliation.

     Trotter filed a complaint against Korb, the county and the jail in Fayette County Circuit Court. She charged the defendants with sexual harassment, whistleblower retaliation, assault by Korb and negligent supervision by the jail’s director, Ron Bishop. Bishop was dismissed from the suit prior to trial.

     The jury deliberated for four hours, announcing its verdict just minutes before the local University of Kentucky team was to play in the NCAA tournament. In a mixed verdict, it found that Trotter’s harassment was severe and pervasive, awarding her $60,000 for mental distress. At the same time, it rejected Trotter’s claim of retaliation and the assault claim against Korb.

     Trotter will likely seek a separate award for attorney fees of around $200,000. She was represented by Shane C. Sidebottom of Wolnitzek & Rowekamp, Covington.

See: Trotter v. Fayette County Jail, et al., Fayette County Circuit Court, Case No. 09-6048 (Mar. 15, 2012).

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Related legal case

Trotter v. Fayette County Jail, et al.