FMH Board hit with federal lawsuit

Former Employee Claims Sexual Harassment

WINNSBORO – A previously dismissed lawsuit alleging sexual harassment at Fairfield Memorial Hospital is once again active.

On Dec. 28, an attorney for Tabitha Williams, a former employee of the hospital, refiled the suit in circuit court. It was removed to federal court on Jan. 22.

In May 2017 it had been dismissed without prejudice, which allows plaintiffs to refile an identical lawsuit at a later date, according to the U.S. Judicial Department website.

Williams is seeking damages for back and front pay, embarrassment and humiliation, punitive damages, legal fees and other unspecified damages, according to the litigation. No court date has been set.

“He (the employee) began a period of inappropriate and aggressive communications with Plaintiff in and out of the work place,” the suit states. “Plaintiff is informed and believes that her termination resulted from her refusal to engage in sexual activity with Defendant.”

The federal court database had the listed case’s disposition as “settled,” though no details of any settlement were ever released. Fairfield Memorial Hospital and the employee, individually, are named as codefendants in the litigation.

Columbia attorney Jeff Goodwyn, who’s representing Williams, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Charles Thompson, who is listed in court papers as an attorney for the defendants, also couldn’t be reached.

In a response filed prior to dismissal, the hospital said the plaintiff was dismissed for poor job performance and attendance issues.

The hospital also said the plaintiff refused to cooperate in an investigation into her complaint, court records state.

Initially filed Feb. 22 in Kershaw County Circuit Court, the suit says Williams, a former certified nursing assistant, was harassed by a human resources employee.

The lawsuit said the employee made several unwanted sexual comments beginning in October 2016.

Calling the employee a “sexual predator,” the lawsuit states the unwanted advances came during conversations at work, on the phone and via text message.

Williams further says the employee tried to “lure Plaintiff” into a sexual relationship, which she declined. Williams said the employee fired her the following August, “ostensibly for reasons related to job performance,” the suit continues.