Former Sacramento employee sues city alleging sex harassment

Sacramento City Hall

City of Sacramento

A former City of Sacramento employee is suing the city claiming it allowed a security guard to sexually harass her, which set off a chain of events leading her to suffer a concussion in a City Hall elevator.

Barbara McIntyre worked on the second floor of City Hall as a traffic investigator in the public works department, allegedly in the lawsuit filed last week in Sacramento Superior Court. The women's bathroom required employees to swipe a badge to enter, while the men's bathroom did not.

Many times when McIntyre entered the bathroom, a male security guard would come in and start banging on the stall door, the lawsuit alleges.

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As a result of the repeated interruptions, McIntyre suffered repeated urinary infections and other issues, the lawsuit states.

When asked by McIntyre's supervisor, an Allied Universal manager said the visits were “plumbing checks,” the lawsuit states. In May 2023, McIntyre contacted the city's Equal Employment Opportunity Office for further investigation into the sexual harassment. She alleged she had complained about the issue multiple times over the years and the city never followed up.

The city EEO Office dropped the complaint in June 2023, the lawsuit alleges. The issue continued and in November McIntyre filed a complaint with the federal EEOC and state Civil Rights Department. Those agencies issued McIntyre a “right to sue” notice. But the city EEO Office again closed the case.

In December, McIntyre started using the first floor women's restroom, where badges were not required for entry, instead of the second floor one by her office. On Dec. 8, while returning to her desk, she suffered a concussion while trapped in the elevator, the lawsuit states.

“The elevator malfunctioned and twice crashed down to the first floor after ascending toward the second floor,” the lawsuit states.

After the injury, McIntyre was on medical leave for 10 weeks, the lawsuit states. The city required her to use her vacation and sick days instead of putting her on worker's compensation leave.

City spokesman Tim Swanson declined comment because the city hasn't been served with the complaint yet. The city still contracts with Allied and is paying up to $27 million for a five-year contract expiring in August 2025.

Allied Universal did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Monday.

Due to the issues, McIntyre resigned from the city in February, the lawsuit stated.

Her lawsuit claims whistleblower retaliation, which is a violation of the California labor code.

Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall and homelessness. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she covered local government at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated with a journalism degree from Central Michigan University.

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