Bulletin board post at plant leads to lawsuit

By Lawrence Smith | Mar 31, 2011

Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood

RIPLEY – Two Jackson County women allege their employer went too far in posting a co-worker's comments about them on a company bulletin board.

Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood, and its parent company, Apollo Global Management are named as co-defendants in an invasion of privacy suit filed by Sharon Griffith and Lou Ann Wall in Jackson Circuit Court. In their complaint filed Feb. 24, Griffith, 58, of Cottageville, and Wall, 53, of Ravenswood, allege Alcan embarrassed them when they allowed a co-worker's unsubstantiated comments containing abusive language to be publically displayed in the plant.

According to their suit, Griffith and Wall began working at Alcan in 1977 and 1978, respectively. They work in the plant's project maintenance department.

They allege on Oct. 12, 2009, Larry A. Keifer submitted to Melvin Lager, Alcan's CEO, several employee comment cards about them. Keifer's comments stemmed from an encounter he had with the pair on Oct. 9.

On one of the cards, all of which are included in the suit as an exhibit, Keifer said Griffith and Wall spent four hours that evening looking for a missing buggy. He added that "Lazy asses like them don't need to be here especially on overtime looking for one of their extra buggies."

On another card, Keifer, again, accuses Griffith of being lazy. Specifically, he alleges she takes advantage of overtime.

"Sharon Griffith (project maint [sic]) comes in on weekends to work (overtime) time and a half on Saturdays and double time on Sundays and sits on her ass both days in the lunchroom and does 'Nothing'!," he wrote. "'This is bulls—t.' I'm tired of carrying her big lazy ass around! This is not fair to the company or the union workers."

"If the lazy worthless bitch can't do the work she needs to stay home," he added. "She comes in here and drinks coffee and smokes cigarettes all weekend. Stop this sh-t."

According to the suit, Lager, after receiving the cards from Keifer, redacted the names, and some of the profanity. After that, he placed the cards on the bulletin boards at both the plant's entrances.

Despite the redactions, Griffith and Wall allege their co-workers knew to whom the comments were directed. This included "third parties such as contractors and their employees who...viewed the materials posted on the public bulletin boards."

In their suit, Griffith and Wall maintain Lager's posting of Keifer's comments was a deliberate effort to cast them in a false light. Because of that, they allege not only did Keifer's and Lager's actions constitute an invasion of privacy, but also sex discrimination.

Griffith and Wall seek unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees. They are represented by Walt Auvil with the Parkersburg law firm of Rusen and Auvil.

The case is assigned to Judge Thomas C. Evans III.

Jackson Circuit Court case number 11-C-26

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