TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Raymond James Financial employee Kathryn Wyant today accused her employer of sustaining a hostile, alcohol-fueled work environment and retaliating against her when she tried to alleviate the situation through the proper corporate channels.
During a press conference and in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed Aug. 17, Ms. Wyant said she has been subjected to a fraternity-like work atmosphere and retaliation for reporting her grievances to the Human Resources Department. As a result, she has experienced mental anguish and is unable to advance professionally.
"I joined Raymond James to be part of a world-class financial services firm and grow my career. I didn't sign up for Animal House,'' Ms. Wyant said. "I'm shocked and disappointed the company would condone such bad behavior, then retaliate against someone who speaks out against it.''
The EEOC complaint states the actions by Ms. Wyant's supervisor and the company's HR department constitute illegal harassment and retaliation and are in violation of FINRA Rule 2010 requiring members to "observe high standards of commercial honor.''
"To think that in this day and age any firm would act like this is mind boggling,'' said Ms. Wyant's attorney Rogge Dunn, of Clouse Dunn LLC in Dallas.
Ms. Wyant started working at St. Petersburg-based Raymond James in June 2014 as an Options Analyst and has since received two promotions with raises and three favorable employment reviews. She currently works as a Succession Planning and Acquisition Consultant.
Starting in May 2016, Ms. Wyant states that her boss repeatedly made crude, sexist comments and she was pressured to drink heavily and participate in fraternity-like drinking games in the office during work hours.
At first, she tried to politely refuse or partially participate, but when the harassment became too aggressive, she notified the HR department. Upon doing so, she alleges her boss and others began to retaliate against her, culminating with her boss demanding she get on her knees in his office and chug a large bottle of Smirnoff Ice while being videotaped by male co-workers.
When she reported this retaliation, HR told Ms. Wyant her boss was not going anywhere and suggested she get away from the harassment by going back to her old job, which would be a demotion. When Ms. Wyant protested, her boss was demoted but placed back on her same team as a co-worker. Only when Ms. Wyant hired an attorney did the company fire her harasser.
Since returning to work, Ms. Wyant said the retaliation has continued. She has been excluded from meetings and training sessions and given unimportant, low-level work assignments. To try to settle the dispute, Raymond James offered Ms. Wyant a severance package, but she has refused, her attorney said.
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SOURCE Clouse Dunn LLP