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Southern Miss AD sued over “intimidating, intolerable” workplace

  • A former Southern Miss associate athletic director has followed up her complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Athletic Director Jeff Hammond with a civil lawsuit, requesting unspecified damages.

    Diane Stark also lists the university and former President Martha Saunders in her suit, filed Nov. 6 in Forrest County Circuit Court.

    The suit, which represents one side of a legal dispute, alleges the defendants have created an “intimidating, intolerable” workplace.

    “Mr. Jeff Hammond has used his position to threaten, intrude upon, frighten, attempt to extract funds from, act outrageously, intimidate, insult, disrespect, yell at, confront and threaten violence towards plaintiff,” the suit alleges.

    The complaint argues the environment became so intolerable that Stark had to leave her position and that the university refused to provide “the requisite and entitled funds and benefits” it owed her.

    Stark also accuses Saunders of telling her that she deserved or needed the alleged mistreatment. The lawsuit also describes Stark’s June 30 termination as “wrongful.” The June 30 termination occurred after Stark had been “constructively discharged” in early January, according to the suit.

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