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A Howell County judge has overruled a motion to exclude Texas County government from a sexual discrimination lawsuit.

Circuit Judge Don Henry, hearing the case on a change of venue in Pulaski County, denied last week a bid to remove Texas County as a party to a suit against the county’s presiding commissioner before it goes to trial next month.

Carol Denise Wilson alleges in a lawsuit filed in February 2008 that the county’s top administrative officer, Don Shelhammer, subjected her to offensive sexual remarks and conduct in May and June of 2006.

Wilson, claiming sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act, asks for actual and punitive damages “exceeding $25,000” against Shelhammer, Texas County government and its 911 system. Count II alleges battery.

Wilson was a dispatcher for the Wri-Tex 911 system from March 2001 to June 2006. She reported to the 911 director and Shelhammer, according to the lawsuit.

Wilson filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in July 2006 and that body issued a notice of right to sue, a determination of probable cause.

Wilson claims in the lawsuit that when she complained about sexual harassment and a hostile work environment in 2002, it resulted in reduced employment hours. In 2003 and 2005, she received written disciplinary action that she says was unfounded and beginning in June 2006, she alleges she was told by Shelhammer that he would interfere with her prospective employment if she did not submit to his advances. Wilson claims a work environment that was intolerable, and the “defendants constructively discharged plaintiff on or about June 18, 2006.”


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