Workers say manager cut hours after they reported harassment

By: Stephanie Baker Email
By: Stephanie Baker Email

February 20, 2007

WARRENVILLE, Ga.---Workers at the Warrenville Movie Gallery say their hours were cut after they reported sexual harassment in the workplace. Now they're taking their claim to the state of South Carolina to get their pay back.

They've filed three reports with the Human Affairs Commission, a state agency whose mission is to enforce anti-discrimination laws. And they're asking for their money they say they lost after coming forward.

Janet Swanquist says the inappropriate behavior started back in November.

"It was so disgusting, degrading, and humiliating," she said.

She says after five workers complained to management, several employees lost an average of 13 hours a week.

That week, on January 21, they filed official company reports documenting everything they say their manager, Russell Androne, did at work. They say he called them explicit names, took pictures of them on his camera phone, and rubbed up against them.

"He would make me so nervous," said Loretta Jones. "I would mess up on the register so bad."

Their also complaints claim he asked them to wear miniskirts, exchanged employees' phone numbers for free sandwiches, and looked at pornographic magazines on the clock.

"It's been stressful when you come to work and don't know what to expect, how he's going to act, what he's going to do," Julie Michael said.

Julie says they wrote the district manager on January 24 asking for help, but got no response.

Now they're taking it to the next level. On January 30, the same day the last of these reports went on record, the three went to the Human Affairs office that has the power to get them their money back.

The Commission will decide whether or not a violation has happened within 90 days.

The employees say their manager was fired a week and a half ago, shortly after a letter they wrote to the CEO. Movie Gallery says they cannot comment.

If you feel you've been discriminated against, you can contact the Human Affairs Commission at the address and phone number below:

Human Affairs Commission
2611 Forest Drive, Suite 200
Columbia, SC 29240

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