A security director for the National Basketball Association (NBA) has sued the NBA, USA basketball, and UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma because of retaliation she experienced after she rebuffed Auriemma’s sexual advances. The security director, Kelley Hardwick, claims that Auriemma’s sexual advance occurred in 2009 when she was working in Russia at a basketball tournament. She claims that Auriemma followed her back to her hotel room, grabbed her, and tried to kiss her. Hardwick, a former NYPD detective, claims that she rebuffed his advance and told him he was out of line. This year, according to the lawsuit, Auriemma demanded that the NBA remove Hardwick from the security detail at the London Olympics as retaliation for her rejection of his sexual advance.
Hardwick told the NBA about Auriemma’s retaliatory motive, gave it a list of witnesses to support her story, and asked that it investigate. According to her, the NBA did not talk to any of her witnesses or to Auriemma about the allegations. Instead, it chose to stand by its decision to ban her from working security at the London Olympics. Hardwick subsequently filed her lawsuit. “I was willing to close this story in 2009,” Hardwick said in an interview. “If Geno had not interfered with my job and my livelihood, I would not have filed this lawsuit.”
Unfortunately, sexual harassment is an all too common problem that continues to persist. If you have experienced sexual harassment, or retaliation because you opposed sexual harassment at work, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer for advice.