A former employee of a county-run nursing home in upstate New York has filed a $9 million federal lawsuit against the county, claiming she's endured mental anguish and required anti-anxiety medication ever since the day supervisors forced her to ... prove she was wearing a bra.
Karen Tenney, 48, is suing Essex County and its Horace Nye Nursing Home, claiming the bra check constituted harassment under federal and state law. She also alleges that she was forced to quit her job--constructively terminated--because of the incident.
It occurred, according to Tenney's suit, on April 23, 2004, when management received a complaint that Tenney was not wearing a bra, as required by county policy. A female supervisor, sent to investigate, placed her hand on the back of a sweater Tenney was wearing and felt for a bra clasp.
When she failed, Tenney, a dietary aide, pulled up her sweater to show she was wearing a black sports bra. That prompted other workers inside the dietary unit to show off their bras, according to the suit.
Besides Essex County, Tenney has named the nursing home, County Attorney Richard Meyer, and the state Civil Service Employees Union as defendants. The Press-Republican newspaper of Plattsburgh, New York, reports that Tenney, who is representing herself in the lawsuit, has seen her previous complaints dismissed by the county Board of Supervisors, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the State Division of Human Rights.