Former hairdresser in SAS salon sues, claims sexual harrassment

Posted June 14, 2018 12:54 p.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2018 2:39 p.m. EDT

SAS campus in Cary, NC.

— A woman who worked as a hairdresser in a SAS salon is suing the company, alleging sexual harassment and threats and intimidation that continued after she left.

According to the suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Chante Morris "endured an environment of constant sexual harassment that was perpetrated by her manager, high-level SAS executives, and from clients who were employees of SAS."

Morris alleges that her male supervisor regularly commented on her breasts, including telling her that a planned, elective surgery for breast reduction would cost her male clientele.

In her filing, Morris says after she first reported the harassment to SAS' Human Resources Department in 2013, her supervisor retaliated by requiring her to do cleaning duties around the salon that had not previously been part of her job description. When Morris complained about the extra work, the lawsuit alleges, "The supervisor responded that he thought she would be used to being on her knees – a clear, intentional, and cruel sexual statement."

After 14 years at SAS, Morris left the company, only to see a "high-level SAS employee" come to her new place of work. She claims he "attempted to threaten and intimidate her in an effort to induce her to drop all potential claims against SAS."

Morris is seeking compensation for her emotional distress and also alleging that her classification as an independent contractor, instead of a full-time SAS employee, cost her money and was illegal.

In a statement, SAS denied that Morris was harassed, saying, "Ms. Morris was a hair stylist vendor with SAS and left in early 2014. The first we heard of any allegations outlined in this complaint was shortly before Ms. Morris filed an EEOC Charge in late 2017. We investigated what she alleged and found no legitimacy to her claims. The EEOC concluded that it was unable to find violation of a statute and dismissed the claims. We respect anyone who comes forward with concerns. We investigate any allegations of this nature and take appropriate actions based on what we find. This is now a legal matter and we can’t discuss this any further."