2 Ex-authority Workers File Complaints Two Women Allege Sexual Harassment From The Head Of The Chester Redevelopment Authority.

Posted: December 05, 1994

CHESTER — Two women laid off in late October by the Chester Redevelopment Authority have filed complaints with the federal government, saying that they had been victims of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Kathryn Cooper-Nicholas, assistant executive director of the Redevelopment Authority, and Monica Washington, a legal specialist with the agency, filed their complaints last week with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In it, they asserted that they were laid off by the authority in retaliation for grievances they had filed against the Rev. Thomas Jackson, executive director of the authority.

In an interview last week, Mr. Jackson denied that there had been any wrongdoing at the agency but said he had not yet seen the complaints and therefore could not comment in detail about them.

Washington's grievance, filed with the authority, said she had been denied a promotion and a raise that Mr. Jackson had promised her. Cooper-Nicholas said in her grievance that Mr. Jackson had repeatedly discriminated against women employees and that he had treated her in a humiliating and disrespectful manner.

In her EEOC complaint, Cooper-Nicholas said she had been laid off because of her sex and in retaliation for filing the grievance. A copy of Washington's EEOC complaint was not immediately available. Cooper-Nicholas said the content of Washington's grievance was similar to hers.

Mr. Jackson said in a recent interview that the layoffs had not been in retaliation for the grievances. He said they had happened partly as a result of the Chester City Council's decision to transfer $3 million from the Redevelopment Authority to its new office of Economic Development and partly to reduce administrative costs.

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