Lawsuit: Siemens allowed stalking and threats

A former employee of Siemens in Orlando alleges the company failed to take action regarding her repeated complaints about an ex-boyfriend stalking and threatening her at work, according to a new federal lawsuit.Lauren Hargraves, 34, filed suit against...

Lawsuit: Siemens allowed stalking and threats

A former employee of Siemens in Orlando alleges the company failed to take action regarding her repeated complaints about an ex-boyfriend stalking and threatening her at work, according to a new federal lawsuit.

Lauren Hargraves, 34, filed suit against Siemens, regarding alleged harassment by her former coworker at the company, Bradley Anderson. Anderson is not named in the lawsuit, which says he recently resigned from Siemens. The lawsuit also says Hargraves was stalked “at her residence, a community pool, and various other locations throughout Orlando.”

A spokeswoman from Siemens said Friday the company takes any allegations of stalking or harassment very seriously.

“We can confirm that Mr. Anderson is not currently a Siemens employee. Siemens is reviewing the lawsuit filed yesterday and will respond to the legal claims at the appropriate time." Attempts to contact Anderson were not immediately successful.

Hargraves had filed a complaint with EEOC in April, which states she left her position in Orlando in February 2016. The EEOC issued a notice of “right to sue” on Dec. 29. The notice says an EEOC investigation was not able to determine any violations at Siemens based on the evidence provided.

The lawsuit documents tell a story of a bitter breakup, which involved Anderson pulling a gun on himself, threatening Hargraves and her son with the gun; breaking into Hargraves’ home; and shoving a knife into Hargraves’ doorbell to make it ring all night.

After the worst part of the breakup, the lawsuit alleges Anderson continued to stalk Hargraves at work. Hargraves obtained a temporary, court-ordered injunction against Anderson in December 2015, according to Orange County circuit court records.

Hargraves never filed a police report, said Hargraves’ attorney Jacob Phillips, because she hoped the problems would go away after the breakup.

“She hoped that eventually the guy would just stop. She also needed her job and was reluctant to make waves at first,” Phillips said.

According to the suit, the alleged conduct created a hostile work environment. It says Hargraves “officially complained to human resources numerous times”, and “other employees … who witnessed said behavior” also complained to human resources. The suit says Anderson’s friendship with a vice president at Siemens might be to blame.

“Our client discovered during the course of her romantic relationship with Mr. Anderson, that he was living with a vice president at Siemens,” said Phillips, with the Orlando-based law firm Normand PLLC. “We believe that’s a relevant factor regarding why Siemens didn’t take action.”

Siemens states on its website that it has a Business Code of Conduct, and its policies state, “We will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. If there is discrimination of individuals or groups in society, it must not be perpetuated in our facilities.”

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, lost wages and compensatory damages for mental anguish and emotional distress.

Hargraves, 34, worked in the human resources department at Siemens. The company employs thousands of people in the Orlando area and has a major training center there.

Got a news tip?  pbrinkmann@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5660; Twitter, @PaulBrinkmann

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