Three years ago, at the start of the fall semester at the University of Maine in Orono, a 20-year-old student was sexually assaulted by another student at a fraternity adjacent to campus.
The victim worked part time for the Bank of America call center in Orono. Her attacker also worked there.
Three days after the assault, the victim returned to work in tears and told an administrative assistant and a supervisor about the attack. She was sent home on unpaid sick leave, entitled to employment leave as a victim of violence.
Early in October she asked to return to work, telling Bank of America that she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was being treated for situational depression as a result of the attack. She asked that the attacker be transferred to a work station where she could not see him.
According to a Maine Human Rights Commission finding, her supervisor refused to accommodate that request but offered to instruct the attacker not to speak with the victim when she returned to work.
The attacker was later convicted of assault and providing liquor to a minor. UMaine established an on-campus safety plan to limit contact between him and the victim, but no safety plan was established by Bank of America.
The victim persisted in her requests for the company to develop a safety plan so she could return to work, including transferring her to a different work station, but she was denied.
She was fired Feb. 23, 2011.
That retaliation is prohibited by Maine’s Whistleblower Protection Act.
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