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Ex-Smithtown Highway Dept. secretary claims Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen sexually harassed her

The former personal secretary to Smithtown Highway Superintendent

The former personal secretary to Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen is alleging that he sexually harassed her and created hostile work environment until he fired the woman in a jealous rage after finding out she was dating a highway department worker. Photo Credit: James Escher

The former personal secretary to Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen is alleging that he sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment until he fired the woman in a jealous rage after finding out she was dating a highway department worker.

Aimee-Lynn Smith, 26, of Shirley on Dec. 5 served a notice of claim -- a precursor to a possible claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a lawsuit -- against Jorgensen and the town.

Smith alleges in the notice of claim papers, which were obtained by Newsday, that Jorgensen, 63, repeatedly asked her personal questions about her dating and family life and made inappropriate comments about her appearance.

Jorgensen did not respond to multiple calls yesterday. Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski declined to comment.

Smith is seeking at least $200,000 in damages, plus compensation for loss of income and reimbursement for any therapy, according to the 16-page document filed with the town clerk's office. She was an at-will employee who was not in a union, and she did not have an employment contract, said her attorney, Marc Kramer of Patchogue.

"Jorgensen fired her because, essentially, she did not return his attentions," Kramer said.

"I just wanted to do my job and provide for my two boys," Smith said in a statement. "It's unfair to have been subjected to all this with my job held over my head."

Smith said she was hired in November 2013 and worked as a general secretary in the highway department while another was on leave. Jorgensen made her his personal secretary when that woman returned to work in January.

According to the document, Jorgensen, who was elected highway superintendent in 2009, frequently took Smith to breakfast or lunch, publicly referring to her as his "work wife." He also traveled with her to highway department job sites or on calls to answer resident complaints, according to the document.

Smith did not receive training for the position and was not given a list of job requirements, Kramer said.

Smith said in the notice of claim that Jorgensen often inquired about the status of her relationships and sought details of her dates, such as where she went, who paid and what time she returned home.

"I did not feel comfortable answering," Smith said in the notice.

Jorgensen once instructed her to play a game that he said he played with his wife -- to pick a person in the restaurant who she thought he would be "into sexually," according to the document. Smith said she was not "comfortable" playing that game but felt pressured by Jorgensen to do so.

Jorgensen had, a few times a week during the summer, used what he said was sign language to tell Smith she was "beautiful," according to the document. Jorgensen told her, "If I was 30 years younger, I'd be your man," and that he would have taken care of her if he had been rich, Smith said.

Other moments that Smith said made her uncomfortable include Jorgensen making a comment at a job site that her presence was "giving the boys a treat." Smith said in the claim that Jorgensen quickly apologized.

Smith said Jorgensen also asked her to accompany him to meetings of the Suffolk County Highway Superintendents Association. "I . . . felt flaunted and 'shown off,' " she said.

Smith said Jorgensen at those meetings said "the best part is I can fire her whenever I want."

Jorgensen bought Smith business cards and asked her to wear a jacket that identified her as his secretary, she said. None of the other highway department secretaries had business cards or jackets, she said.

Work conditions became more strained in October when, after being persistently asked about whom she was dating, Smith said she told Jorgensen that the man worked in the highway department. Jorgensen asked whether they had sex, and then became angry, Smith said in the notice of claim.

Jorgensen later told Smith that he should fire her and transfer the man she was dating to a different highway yard, Smith said in the document.

Smith said Jorgensen fired her on Oct. 17 and as she walked out of the highway department building, asked her "are you going to take me to court for sexual harassment?" and "should I get a lawyer?"

Smith said she went to the office of public safety to report the sexual harassment. The next day, and on Oct. 19, Jorgensen called her and sent a text message offering her job back, Smith said.

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