Share story

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A federal judge ordered the Wyoming Military Department to pay $221,000 in back pay to a former Wyoming National Guard officer who quit her job after being sexually harassed by her supervisor.

“Amanda Dykes was subjected to continuous harassment by her direct supervisor on the basis of her gender, and her complaints to those whose job it was to help fell on deaf ears,” U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl wrote in his ruling Wednesday. “Her resignation was her only escape from the hostile work environment, and she was therefore constructively discharged from her employment.”

Dykes’ civil lawsuit alleged she was repeatedly harassed by Don Smith, the former director of the Youth Challenge Program at Camp Guernsey north of Cheyenne, beginning in October 2010, KTWO-AM reports .

She said Smith told her he wanted a personal relationship with her, sent her unwanted emails about his personal life with his then-wife, made unwanted written expressions of affection including songs and poems and invaded her work space to discuss personal issues.

Dykes repeatedly rejected his advances and asked him to keep their relationship on a professional level. She filed complaints, but her supervisors and human resource officers didn’t help, Skavdahl found.

She resigned in September 2011. Camp Guernsey discharged Smith in March 2012.

Dykes filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found reasonable cause to believe the Wyoming Military Department discriminated against her based on her sex. After unsuccessful efforts to settle, the Department of Justice filed the lawsuit on her behalf in March 2016.

The Wyoming Attorney General’s office, which defended Smith, argued his behavior may have been annoying, but it wasn’t illegal because it did not include threatening conduct, verbal abuse or obscene language.

Skavdahl did not grant Dykes’ request to require the Wyoming Military Department to implement policies to prevent sexual harassment after being assured during the July 2017 trial that the Wyoming Military Department had changed its procedures to deal with future harassment claims.

“WMD is, and should be, embarrassed by the multiple failures” of the human resources office and a supervisor in this matter, Skavdahl wrote.


Information from: KTWO-AM,