A woman who charged in 2008 that she was a victim of sexual harassment by the presiding commissioner of Texas County will receive about $160,000, according to terms of a settlement.
Carol Denise Wilson alleged that the county’s top administrative official, Don Shelhammer, subjected her to offensive sexual remarks and conduct in May and June 2006.
Wilson, claiming sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act, asked for actual and punitive damages against Shelhammer and Texas County government. Count II alleged battery. The case was to have been heard in May in Pulaski County.
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.
Under terms of the settlement:
–Texas County government will pay $21,000 to Wilson. As of Friday, records show Texas County taxpayers have paid $110,105 in legal fees related to the litigation. The county said it has no insurance to cover its costs. That matter is the subject of a separate lawsuit filed by the county.
–Wri-Tex 911, through its insurance carrier, will pay $100,000 to Wilson.
–Shelhammer will pay $10,000 to Wilson.
–Texas County will pay $29,000 to Wilson’s law firm, Dobson, Goldberg, Berns & Rich LLP in St. Louis.
According to the settlement, Texas County and Shelhammer admit no guilt or liability for any wrongdoing.
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, earlier.
The nine-page document alleges Shelhammer made advances to her and describes incidents in May and June 2006 that Wilson claims resulted in unwanted physical contact.
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 in 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.”
Shelhammer, serving his second, four-year term as presiding commissioner, did not seek re-election. His term expires Dec. 31.