Local News in Brief : Westminster : $1-Million Suit Claims Sexual Harassment

A woman and her husband filed a $1-million lawsuit Thursday against Walter Wholesale Electric, claiming that she suffered an almost daily barrage of sexual harassment, including assault, battery and defamation, while working as a secretary in the firm’s Westminster office.

Cathy Vowels was 22 when she was hired as the only woman employee working with 14 men in the office.

In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Vowels, now 25, alleges that the men taped pictures of male genitalia to her computer screen, exposed their buttocks as she walked through the warehouse, made lewd comments, accused her of “sleeping around” and told other co-workers that she was willing to perform sexual favors.

Her complaints to the office manager went unheeded, the suit alleges. Instead, the manager subjected Vowels to repeated and unwelcome sexual advances, the suit charges.


John Walter, president of the Compton-based company, said this is the first time he has received a complaint from any of the 30 women among the company’s 160 employees.

“Some of my girls work out in the warehouses” where they often hear customers “come in and swear and tell dirty stories.” But they don’t complain, he said.