Lawsuit: Office manager fired after refusing boss' sexual advances

News-DemocratJuly 17, 2014 

The owner of a landscaping company allegedly had an office manager arrested and falsely charged with theft after she refused his sexual advances, according to a federal lawsuit.

Ashley M. Ingram, 28, of Fairview Heights, filed the lawsuit against David M. Hagen, 56, in federal court July 11. Hagen is the owner of Hagen Lawns and Landscaping in Aviston.

Ingram and Hagen could not be reached for comment. Hagen has not yet responded to the allegations in a court response in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

Ingram alleges Hagen underpaid her in violation of labor laws, sexually harassed her and then falsely accused her of theft when she refused his sexual advances.

Ingram worked for the landscaping business from December 2009 until October 2012. The "continuous unwelcome sexual advances" allegedly began in June 2012.

Following unwelcome physical contact from Hagen on Oct. 16, 2012, Ingram told Hagen "she was tired of being subjected to his sexual advances," according to court documents.

In response, Hagen then fired Ingram and told police she had stolen money from a business account. Ingram was arrested, jailed and charged with felony theft. Those charges were dropped March 8, 2013.

The suit further alleges Hagen violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which limits the work week to 40 hours unless an employer pays an employee overtime wages. Ingram regularly worked up to 55 hours per week, according to court documents.

Hagen also allegedly did not pay Ingram for her final two weeks pay for working for him.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.