A Democratic candidate for a House seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race because of a 2005 lawsuit implying sexual misconduct.
Former business executive Andrea Ramsey announced in a long Facebook post that she would be dropping out of the race because “In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard.”
“For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”
DCCC Communications Director Meredith Kelly responded with a statement reading, in part, “Members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard,” according to politico.com.
“If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office.”
In her Facebook announcement, Ramsey totally denied any misconduct.
“Let me be clear: I never engaged in any of the alleged behavior,” she stated.
The complaint was made in 2005 when Ramsey was the head of human resources at a company called LabOne. An employee Ramsey ordered terminated—in conjunction and with approval from LabOne management, she claims—filed a complaint against the company—not against Ramsey—claiming that she had fired him because he rejected her personal advances.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated and decided not to pursue the complaint.
The employee then attempted to sue LabOne. In July 2006, the complainant agreed to drop the suit. It is assumed but not known whether LabOne reached some settlement with the disgruntled employee.
By that time, Ramsey left LabOne, the company was in the middle of being acquired by a much larger firm and would not have wanted the lingering harassment lawsuit to complicate matters.
Political Career Over
Ramsey said in her Facebook statement, “As a first-time candidate, I am disappointed and disillusioned by the political process.”
Ramsey said the only reason the old complaint has been investigated after 12 years is because she is running for office.
She is angry that the mere insinuation of misconduct could end her chances as a candidate.
“I have been swept up in decisions without due process,” she posted.
“A man sued my company twelve years ago and made false accusations against me. Had the false allegations been brought against me directly, I would have fought to exonerate my name and my reputation. I would have sued the disgruntled, vindictive employee for defamation. Now, twelve years later this suit is being used to force me out of my race for Congress.”
“I will continue to seek future opportunities to serve our community and fight for our Republic, just not as your Congresswoman,” she concluded.
Ramsey Agrees: Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment
“On balance, it is far more important to me that women are stepping forward to tell their stories and confront their harassers than it is to continue our campaign,” Ramsey posted.
“For far too long, complaints of sexual harassment have been completely ignored. The timely and thorough investigation of complaints is a very good thing. We are seeing real change in how harassment is being handled from Topeka to Washington. We should always make it as safe as possible for people who have been wronged to come forward, and I have based my professional career as an employment lawyer and human resources executive on that principle.”
Unfortunately for Ramsey’s political aspirations, as an unnamed party in a case which was dropped a dozen years ago, she has become, indirectly, a victim of the long tolerance of sexual harassment.
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