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Germantown faces harassment suit

Ex-village president, Village    Board    accused

July 8, 2010

Germantown - A federal lawsuit alleges that former Village President Thomas Kempinski and the Village Board discriminated against a former village employee when they retaliated against her complaints of sexual harassment by firing her from a job as assistant to the administrator in December 2008.

The former employee, Ann Kaczmarek, alleges that Kempinski repeatedly made sexually suggestive comments and inappropriately touched her after he became village president in April 2007. Though she complained of the alleged harassment to other village officials, they did not intervene to end the conduct, according to the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.

Kempinski did not seek re-election to a second term this year. In a telephone interview Thursday, he denied the allegations of sexual harassment.

Kempinski also said he was not involved in the decision to end Kaczmarek's employment with the village.

In addition to allegations of specific incidents of sexual harassment in 2007 and 2008, Kaczmarek, of Slinger, says in the lawsuit that Kempinski called her during non-work hours to discuss his personal matters and expected her to accompany him on his personal errands away from Village Hall.

On a bus trip in July 2007, Kempinski sat behind her and made a suggestive comment, and then asked her if his conduct constituted sexual harassment, according to the lawsuit. Though Kaczmarek said she told Kempinski that she considered his actions to be sexual harassment, he continued to make sexual innuendoes and comments, the suit says.

Kaczmarek also alleges in the lawsuit that Village Administrator David Schornack laughed at Kempinski's comments during the bus trip and did not attempt to stop those actions. Schornack also witnessed similar incidents throughout the summer of 2007 and did not intervene, according to Kaczmarek.

When she complained to Schornack of Kempinski's continuing harassment in 2008, the administrator did not act to stop the behavior, the lawsuit says.

Schornack is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

In August 2008, the lawsuit alleges, Kempinski repeatedly asked Kaczmarek to work for him on personal, not village, tasks on her own time. A month later, Kempinski asked her to help him prepare his résumé so that he could apply for jobs, according to the lawsuit.

A job termination notice in December 2008 claimed that she disclosed confidential village information and made unauthorized purchases for the village, though she had never been accused of such conduct prior to her firing, the lawsuit says.

Kaczmarek in her lawsuit asks the federal court to order Germantown to reinstate her in the job and reimburse her for back pay and other compensatory damages, as well as legal fees and other expenses. She asks the court to order Kempinski to pay unspecified punitive damages.

Lawsuit on JSOnline.com Read the federal lawsuit filed against Germantown and its former village president at jsonline.com/news/ozwash.

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