Metro-East News

Police dispatcher says her supervisor asked about oral sex and thongs. Now she’s suing.

The history of sexual harassment in America

Just like many movements for equal rights in America, the path for women to seek recourse from sexual harassment has been through the courts. But grassroots activism in the 1970s opened the space for a nationwide conversation, and the Civil Rights
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Just like many movements for equal rights in America, the path for women to seek recourse from sexual harassment has been through the courts. But grassroots activism in the 1970s opened the space for a nationwide conversation, and the Civil Rights

A Herrin woman says her former boss asked specifics about her sex life and her choices in underwear while she was working as a police dispatcher in Murphysboro.

Allison Covington was fired from the Murphysboro Police Department after four months, and alleges in a lawsuit that she was fired in retaliation for reporting the comments.

Covington’s sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Illinois and names three defendants — her trainer Ken Johnson, Police Chief Chad Roberts and the City of Murphysboro.

“You must wear thongs, because I don’t see any underwear lines through your khakis,” Covington alleges Johnson said to her while she was working.

Johnson and Roberts deny her allegations of demeaning comments and verbal abuse in their answers to the suit.

The former dispatcher alleges that Johnson talked about his sex life with his wife and asked Covington if she and her husband engaged in oral sex acts.

She was hired as a police dispatcher in October 2016 and terminated in January 2017, while she was still in a probationary employment term.

Covington also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Illinois Department of Human Rights, according to court documents.

Johnson has asked for a jury trial.

The city’s mayor, Will Stephens, told The Southern Illinoisian that the city received a letter from Covington’s attorney with a demand for $250,000.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535, @MaryCooleyBND
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