HuffPost: GOP Senate Hopeful Kevin Smith Mishandled Harassment Complaint, Lawsuit Says
As Town Manager, Smith Called a Female Subordinate “Pork Chop” and Made “Dumb Blonde Jokes”
In case you missed it, HuffPost reported that as Londonderry Town Manager, US Senate candidate Kevin Smith “dismissed and mishandled repeated complaints of workplace harassment and retaliation” and the town “eventually settled a related lawsuit at the public’s expense.” Additionally, Smith “made demeaning comments about women in the workplace” including “dumb blonde jokes” and calling a female subordinate “pork chop.” This is the first time Smith’s “role in mishandling the harassment and retaliation complaint” has been reported.
In the crowded primary race to challenge Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) for her Senate seat, Republican Kevin Smith argues that his decade as the town manager of Londonderry is what sets him apart.
But Smith allegedly dismissed and mishandled repeated complaints of workplace harassment and retaliation while he held that role, and the town eventually settled a related lawsuit at the public’s expense, HuffPost has learned.
Smith’s alleged role in mishandling the harassment and retaliation complaint has not been previously reported.
In 2018, Nicole Doolan, who had worked for the town of Londonderry as an administrative assistant for nine years, sued the town and her former manager, accusing them of disability discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. In her lawsuit, Doolan said the harassment began after she complained to her union that her boss — the town tax assessor — was making her do personal errands, and she said it escalated for several years. Smith, who served as Londonderry’s town manager from 2013 to January 2022, eventually became involved in covering for those who were harassing her, Doolan claimed.
Smith himself made demeaning comments about women in the workplace, Doolan claimed, such as making “dumb blonde jokes” and referring to a female subordinate as “pork chop.”
Doolan’s suit lays out several allegations against her former boss, Karen Marchant, and Marchant’s deputy, Rick Brideau. While Doolan was on disability leave, she claimed, a town official threatened to eliminate her job. When Doolan returned, there was a video camera pointed at her desk with a feed and audio that played in Marchant’s office, ostensibly to monitor people entering the office. Brideau also used the video feed, she said ― to see whether members of the public who needed tax assessor services were good-looking and decide whether to get up from his desk and help.
Doolan said Brideau made jerk-off motions at her on several occasions, made lewd comments about how other women in the office dressed, and watched video of girls undressing on his work computer. When Doolan complained to Marchant about the video, she said, Marchant told Brideau to angle his computer monitor so others couldn’t see.
Doolan complained repeatedly to Smith, according to the lawsuit, and in late 2014 he set up a mediation with Doolan, Marchant and Brideau. Smith discouraged Doolan from bringing a union representative, her lawsuit claimed, although she was entitled to do so, saying he believed the representative would intimidate her bosses. Smith met with Doolan three more times, she said, and each time told her not to bring a representative. She said he pushed her to take a job in another department instead of taking action against her bosses.
For much of this time, Doolan claimed, Marchant, Smith and other town government employees sandbagged her requests to increase her hours or become a full-time employee while other part-time employees were allowed to work up to 40 hours.
Eventually, she said, Smith also took actions that she believed to be retaliatory. In 2016, after she complained to him that she was being assigned more work than was possible in her 28-hour week and was working off the clock without additional pay, Smith told her she was being “disrespectful” and gave her an official warning. She resigned a month later.
Doolan filed her suit in June 2018, which Doolan and the town of Londonderry settled for an undisclosed amount of money in September 2020.
In its initial response to Doolan’s lawsuit, before the settlement, Londonderry admitted that Doolan complained to Smith about Brideau’s lewd behavior. [...]
Doolan did complain that Smith called a subordinate “pork chop” and made dumb-blonde jokes, [...]