A University of Akron program assistant this week sued her employer and two former supervisors for on-the-job harassment.
Vanessa Ozarchuk maintains that Randy Rivers, then commander of the UA Law Enforcement Center and a candidate for Summit County sheriff, made inappropriate sexual comments, leered and stared at her and looked down a cadet applicant’s shirt.
Ozarchuk’s attorney, Michael Creveling of Creveling & Creveling in Fairlawn, said his client will request a jury trial.
“There are other things that will be brought out in court,” he said.
UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey declined to comment. Rivers said Friday he hadn’t heard of the lawsuit.
“There are people out there who want to make something out of nothing,” he said. “What can I say?”
The third defendant, Rivers’ supervisor Michael Jalbert, did not respond to a request for comment.
Ozarchuk filed a formal complaint with UA’s human resource department in August alleging sexual harassment.
She maintained that Rivers told 34 cadets in an orientation class “not to get your mammaries in a bind” and that they would have to “put out,” according to investigation notes that the Beacon Journal obtained from UA under the state’s open records law.
She complained to Jalbert that Rivers was “creepy,” according to Jalbert’s report of the events. He advised her to keep a journal, according to the university investigation.
“I asked on several occasions what if anything she wanted me to do and there did not seem to be any urgency,” the UA report quotes Jalbert as saying.
The university investigation concluded that Rivers and Jalbert violated UA’s Sexual Harassment Policy and would have to quit or be fired.
Both chose to resign, although Jalbert, who has tenure, or virtual lifetime employment, returned to the faculty as a professor of business technology.
In her court complaint, Ozarchuk said she suffered severe emotional distress during the year or so she worked with Rivers. She said she lost compensation, was put in a hostile work environment and likely will lose “future employment opportunities.”
Rivers, a Republican, lost his race for county sheriff in November to Democrat Steve Barry, a retired captain from the sheriff’s department.
Ozarchuk’s complaint was filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court and assigned to Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3729.