A sexual harassment lawsuit has been filed against Sioux City's City Manager. The lawsuit claims Paul Eckert acted inappropriately to a former city employee and once the allegations surfaced that employee says he retaliated against her.
You might say the lawsuit filed today in U.S. District court is a follow up to a civil rights complaints filed with the state by Brittany Scott in February.
In both the civil rights complaint and Tuesdays lawsuit Scott claims she suffered retaliation for complaining about a sexually hostile environment in the city manager's office.
Brittany Scott, a former administrative assistant for Sioux City, claims Paul Eckert's behavior was inappropriate. The allegations start back in 2000, a few years after Scott was hired.
She claims Eckert began talking privately to her about her personal life.
In a complaint to the Iowa Civil rights commission Scott writes, "He would touch me on my arms; he would rub my shoulders. It was quite common for him to rub the shoulders of other females at work."
Scott also says Eckert would ask her out on dates. She claims he once drove her home from a city council meeting told her they was going to stop for ice cream then parked on Stonesthrow hill on Floyd.
She wrote, "After sitting in his truck for a bit, I became quite uncomfortable and told him I needed to get back to work. He wanted to talk about my personal life and nothing work related or on a professional level."
Around the same time, she says she reported the harassment to her supervisor. Then in 2004, Scott was interviewed by two city council members who were investigating other claims of inappropriate behavior by Eckert.
Scott claims after she reported the harassment her job duties were reduced and eventually she was transferred out of City Hall entirely.
Two years later she claims she overheard Eckert tell her department director to, "get rid of me."
Two years after that she was demoted and later that year she claims Eckert ordered the public works director to get rid of her office.
Then in 2011 her job was cut to part time and she lost her health benefits. When Scott applied for a full-time city job the next year she claims Eckert said she would never be allowed in City Hall again.
In a statement to Siouxland News Eckert says, "I'm highly dedicated to our community and city staff. The retaliation charges are baseless and we will resist them vigorously."
Council member Rhonda Capron tells Siouxland News, "We'll take it day by day, the city manager does his job well."