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Sunday, July 24, 2016

State awards benefits in harassment case

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

A Humboldt woman who quit her job at a manufacturing plant after complaining of sexual harassment has been awarded unemployment benefits by the state.

Candy Mudgett resigned in January from Chantland-PVS Co. in Humboldt, north of Fort Dodge, where she worked as a metal fabricator. In state records, she alleged that male co-workers harassed her verbally and physically over the course of six years.

The co-workers allegedly made sexually suggestive comments and physically assaulted Mudgett. One worker admitted to kicking her in the buttocks.

State records indicate Mudgett was paid $2 an hour less than any of her male co-workers who did the same work, although she had more seniority than some of them.

Mudgett alleged that company officials told other employees of her complaints, after which the harassment increased.

State administrative law judge Teresa Hillary awarded Mudgett unemployment benefits even though she voluntarily quit.

Mudgett was "subjected to such a plethora of abuse that it is difficult to imagine that she continued to work there as long as she did," Hillary said in her decision.

"Not only did the employer fail to act on (Mudgett's) complaints, it failed to provide an environment that was physically safe."

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