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Lawsuit: Woman claims MSU mishandled sexual harassment complaint

Posted: 11:12 PM, Nov 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-13 04:40:22Z

Michigan State University is accused of mishandling a sexual harassment complaint against a former union leader.

The suit was filed by a woman who worked for MSU and was a union officer with the local chapter of the AFSCME. She claims Union President James Rhodes harassed her and created a hostile work environment after she ended their consensual sexual relationship.
She says she reported it to MSU's Office of Institutional Equity but was told there was nothing the university could do because Rhodes worked for the union, not the university.

The woman says the harassment then got worse, with Rhodes following her, driving by her home, and accessing her financial records. The woman filed another report with MSU. She says the Title IX office took her report, but never contacted police. Ultimately, the woman says the harassment forced her to resign from her union position and take a job in a different department at MSU. She also says it caused her physical problems like lack of sleep, loss of appetite, and forced her to start taking anti-depressants.

MSU fired Rhodes in January of 2017 for violating the MSU's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy. He was later re-elected Union President. The case went to arbitration and his firing was upheld earlier this year.

Rhodes is no longer the union president.

MSU says it has not yet been served the lawsuit.