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Woman: Road boss told me to ‘use the woods like the men’

October 2, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A county road manager in Mississippi is being suspended for two days amid complaints from workers, including that he told one female employee she would have to use “use the woods like the men” for her bathroom break.

Oktibbeha County supervisors met in closed session Monday to discuss complaints against Fred Hal Baggett and then went back into an open meeting and voted to suspend him without pay Oct. 11 and 12, the Starkville Daily News reported.

Doris Harris said in a complaint that as the only woman working on a road crew, she has been “denied the opportunity to leave the job site” when needing to use the restroom and was “told I have to use the woods like the men,” according to the Commercial Dispatch .

Another complaint, from road department truck driver Eric Clay, stems from a Friday conversation with Baggett. In a recording heard by a Commercial Dispatch reporter Monday, Clay confronted Baggett about a job given to another employee. During the conversation, Baggett questioned Clay’s education and called Clay’s work “mediocre.”

“I don’t know you that well,” Baggett said on the recording. “And the stuff I know about you is not that great.”

Asked about his suspension, Baggett told the Commercial Dispatch: “I’m a big boy. I can handle it.”

The two complaints were not the first against Baggett. A former road department employee, Justin Denson, filed a federal lawsuit in July saying Baggett made racially charged remarks against him, including saying Denson looked like a “black savage Viking” because Denson had dreadlocks.

Both Denson and Baggett are African-American. Court records show that Baggett has denied making such remarks to Denson.

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com

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