TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) — Three housekeepers who work at Talladega College have sued the school, alleging unpaid overtime and a hostile work environment that included sexual harassment.
The complaint, which was filed in federal court Thursday, the housekeepers–Shaunta Williams, Ella Wyckoff and Dawn Gray–claimed that while working at the school, they would often be required to work 46 hours per week.
They claimed their one-hour lunch breaks would be automatically redacted by the school, even though staff had them work during those hours, adding they would often be asked to do things outside of their job descriptions, such as preparing campus events or delivering supplies.
“In a typical five-day week, Plaintiffs’ lunch breaks were interrupted with work-related duties approximately three or four days,” the complaint alleged.
The complaint alleged they would often be required to work even after they had clocked out for the day, amounting to 50 additional hours of overtime for each housekeeper.
“Talladega management-level personnel were well aware that housekeepers regularly worked during their lunch breaks and after clocking out and never acted to discipline supervisory employees who directed the workflow of housekeepers,” the complaint alleged.
In addition, the three women also reported being harassed by federal inmates who would be taken to the school for a work release program. They specifically singled out one inmate, Maurice Sampleton, who would allegedly proposition them for sex and would touch them. Sampleton, who is being held at the Childersburg Community Work Center, was convicted of murder in 1999.
“All three plaintiffs were traumatized by the continuing and blatant behavior by Sampleton and felt that their environment was unsafe,” the complaint stated.
During the spring, Williams reportedly emailed her concerns about Sampleton and general work conditions to Talladega College’s human resources department but was told to “stop griping about her job” and to stop emailing her complaints. Eventually, Williams brought her concerns to Alfred Norris, vice president of administration and finance at Talladega College. Eventually, Williams and Gray were both reportedly called to a meeting with HR, where they were told they were not following the proper protocol.
In July, Williams allegedly made an anonymous complaint to the Alabama Department of Corrections about Sampleton’s behavior. Weeks later, a corrections officer met with Williams to discuss what she had seen Sampleton do. Subsequently, Sampleton was removed from Talladega College and taken back to prison.
“Hours after she met with the corrections officer, Ms. Williams was abruptly informed that she was being placed on administrative leave for going to outside state agencies to raise complaints, banned from being on campus, and told that she was not the subject of a disciplinary investigation,” the complaint stated.
Wycoff claimed to have left Talladega College after she was warned by staff to not go around “antagonizing the inmates” or they would be put in danger.
Of the three housekeepers, Gray is reportedly the only one who continues to work at Talladega College.
Kristie Kenney, senior vice president for institutional advancement, strategic initiatives and communications at Talladega College, told CBS 42 that the school is aware of the lawsuit and that their lawyers are addressing it on their behalf.