Former Ray Skillman employee suing for harassment after relationship with manager

A former employee of Ray Skillman GMC Truck Inc. is suing the car dealer, claiming she was harassed and subjected to a hostile work environment after ending a sexual relationship with the owner’s son-in-law.

Cassey Turk, a 24-year-old from Johnson County, filed a lawsuit last week against Ray Skillman GMC Truck Inc. In her complaint, Turk alleges that she and Ray Skillman’s son-in-law, J.B. Paxson, engaged in a consensual sexual relationship shortly after she was hired as a product specialist at Skillman’s New Whiteland dealership, where Paxson was her general manager.

Turk claims Paxson’s wife, Katie Paxson, came into the dealership in late February 2019 and confronted her about the relationship in front of managers. Katie Paxson then called Turk the following Monday to say she needed to go somewhere else, and Turk was transferred later that day to a Skillman dealership in Indianapolis, according to the lawsuit.

In May, Turk’s new manager assigned her to the role of internet sales marketer, and Turk began to earn more money due to the higher sales volume at the dealership.

J.B. Paxson was then transferred to the same Indianapolis dealership later that month, the suit says. Soon after, Turk was transferred back to the New Whiteland store, where she saw her pay decrease.

In June, J.B. Paxson told Turk that he was going back to his wife, according to the complaint. Turk subsequently ended their relationship.

However, Turk claims, Paxson created a hostile work environment by continuing to make sexual advances via email. In July, he sent her demeaning emails because he believed she was involved in another relationship.

Also that month, Paxson asked another employee to hand-deliver a note to Turk that included profanity and sexually tinged insults, according to the lawsuit. The note also said  she needed to leave her job at Skillman.

Turk claims she reported Paxson’s actions to management.

Claiming she was subjected to harassment and a hostile work environment, Turk is suing Ray Skillman GMC Truck Inc. for lost pay and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney fees.

Scott Preston, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins representing Ray Skillman GMC Truck Inc., said Wednesday that he hadn’t received a summons or read Turk’s complaint.

He did say he was familiar with the allegations, however.

“We’re looking forward to aggressively defending against the case and litigating it through the process,” Preston said.

According to the lawsuit, Turk filed a charge of discrimination in late October with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that Skillman had discriminated against her based on her sex and retaliated against her for ending the sexual relationship. The EEOC issued Turk a 90-day “right to sue” letter.

Anyone planning to file a lawsuit under federal law alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, retaliation and other factors is required to file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC has the right to litigate claims itself but more often issues a “right to sue” letter—a document signaling that the agency has finished processing the charge and that the complainant can move forward with a lawsuit.

Turk’s complaint filed last week did not list a specific amount for damages sought. The lawsuit also says Turk was forced to seek other employment, but it was unclear whether she was terminated or she resigned.

Attorney Paul Cummings of Henn Haworth Cummings and Page in Greenwood is representing Turk. He did not respond to requests from IBJ for comment.

Preston told IBJ that Turk voluntarily resigned.

J.B. Paxson and representatives for Ray Skillman GMC Truck did not respond to several requests for comment this week. IBJ was unable to get in contact with Katie Paxson through listed phone numbers and social media.

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