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Baltimore to pay $92K to settle workplace harassment suit

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates is set to approve Wednesday a $92,500 settlement with a woman who alleged one of her supervisors in the Department of Transportation sexually harassed her and retaliated when she reported him.

Rhonda Knox also will receive $32,500 from the supervisor individually for a total settlement of $125,000.

Knox filed suit in federal court last year accusing a supervisor of harassing her between 2013 and 2015. She claimed she was subjected to “lascivious comments, offensive touching of intimate body parts, and solicitation of quid pro quo sexual acts within the workplace.” The lawsuit was settled last month.

The supervisor, Fabian Lewis, is no longer employed by the city. He resigned after the city notified him he was being recommended for termination following multiple complaints against him.

Knox said when she reported Lewis, he made abrupt changes to her schedule and she was worried she would be fired during her probationary period following a promotion.

In August 2015, Knox took leave from work due to anxiety, according to the lawsuit, and was fearful of losing her job if she made a formal complaint. She reported Lewis’ alleged behavior in December 2015 and claims the chief of the department, who is also named in the lawsuit, created harsh employment conditions by changing her schedule and increasing her workload.

Knox’s attorney, Cary J. Hansel III of Hansel Law PC in Baltimore, declined Tuesday to comment on the settlement.

The case is Rhonda Knox v. Mayor and City Council Baltimore City et al., 1:17-cv-01384-JKB.

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