Developer accused of sexual harassment
A homebuilder in Park City was hit with a lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that accuses Hamlet Homes of sexual harassment.
According to a 7-page complaint filed Sept. 7 in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, while she was an employee at Salt Lake-based Hamlet Homes, Julie Williams Sparks was subjected to "unwelcome touching," sexual innuendo and jokes about the female anatomy.
Williams Sparks was employed as Hamlet owner Michael Brodsky’s administrative assistant, Hamlet Homes attorney Scott Crook said.
Brodsky, a Snyderville Basin resident, is perhaps best known locally for his work with the National Ability Center in Park City. Hamlet Homes is currently building Bear Hollow Village near Kimball Junction.
"The sexual harassment included requiring [Williams Sparks] and other females to review sexually offensive e-mails as part of their job duties," states the EEOC’s complaint.
Federal prosecutors want Hamlet Homes to rehire Williams Sparks and compensate the alleged victims with back pay and damages for financial losses they incurred because of "unlawful employment practices," according to the complaint.
The women are also entitled to receive damages for "emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life (and) humiliation," prosecutors claim.
Defendants in the lawsuit include Hamlet Development Corp., Hamlet Homes Corp., Stirling Mortgage and Diversified Habitats.
"The complaint filed by the EEOC is misleading," Crook said.
Williams Sparks was responsible for reviewing Brodsky’s e-mails each day, he said, adding, "Sometimes you get unwanted email that includes stuff that you don’t want to see."
After Williams Sparks complained, Brodsky reportedly allowed her not to review apparent junk e-mails.
"Mr. Brodsky is a busy man and he gets a lot of e-mails," Crook said. "His administrative assistant is required to screen them."
But Williams Sparks’ allegations that Brodsky touched her inappropriately are "most misleading," Crook said.
"She was walking, her hands were full and [Brodsky] brushed her hair out of her eyes," the attorney explained. "She found that to be offensive [and] he never did anything like that again."
Brodsky wouldn’t comment about the lawsuit when reached Friday.
"There wasn’t any wrongdoing no sexual harassment," Crook said about the allegations.
William Sparks began experiencing sexual harassment as a Hamlet employee in 2002, the lawsuit states.
Because she opposed the treatment, Williams Sparks was fired from Hamlet in 2003, prosecutors claim.
The lawsuit demands Hamlet Homes be ordered to stop allegedly harassing women and "institute and carry out policies, practices and programs which eradicate the effects of their past and present unlawful employment practices."
But Hamlet’s investigation found no evidence company executives had broken the law, Crook said.
"We’ve always denied that there was any sexual harassment," he said, adding that Brodsky has fully cooperated with the EEOC. "We believe that [Williams Sparks] was asking for something that was unreasonable."
Since the company formed in the mid-1990s, Hamlet Homes has not been liable for any claims of sexual harassment, Crook said.
Federal prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.
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