Fannie Mae did nothing while manager harassed employee – lawsuit

by Ryan Smith26 Jan 2018
A senior manager at Fannie Mae repeatedly pressured an employee for sex during company-funded trips, a lawsuit alleges.

The former employee, Soleil Bonnin, said in the lawsuit that she was working as a dancer in a Washington, D.C., gentlemen’s club when she met Joseph King, a senior manager at the government-sponsored mortgage-finance titan, according to a Daily Beast report. When, in 2016, Bonnin said she wanted to change careers, King allegedly offered her a job as his direct employee.

However, the lawsuit claimed that King didn’t treat Bonnin as a regular employee. Instead, he allegedly isolated her from her co-workers and demanded sex, threatening her with termination if she didn’t comply. Bonnin said that Fannie Mae executives noticed the inappropriate relationship, according to The Daily Beast. However, the lawsuit claims that the company ignored the issue, even compensating King for lunches and unnecessary business trips with Bonnin.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Fannie Mae said it was investigating the allegations.

“We have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and harassment,” the company said. “We investigate allegations whenever we are made aware of them, and we take swift and decisive action when we establish inappropriate behavior. We took swift and decisive action in this instance. While we won’t comment on a pending lawsuit, we continue to investigate the allegations. We terminated the supervisor in question immediately upon learning about his misconduct.”

But according to Bonnin’s lawsuit, there’s a toxic culture throughout Fannie Mae.

“Fannie Mae promotes a culture that mistreats women, including hiring and paying them to have sex with upper management, and tolerates illegal, extreme, and abhorrent sexual harassment,” the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, King allegedly hired Bonnin to work as his direct emplotee in Fannie Mae’s IT department, despite her lack of experience in the field. Bonnin claimed that from the beginning, King limited her assignments to force her to work only with him and verbally abused her when she tried to socialize with other employees. He allegedly forced her to leave the office for lunches with him, where he would pressure her to “drink excessive amounts of alcohol,” the lawsuit claims.

“On some occasions, King would take plaintiff to a nearby hotel and demand that she have sex with him,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also claimed that King took Bonnin on unnecessary business trips, including one to Texas, where Bonnin claimed he sexually assaulted her in a hotel room, The Daily Beast reported.

Bonnin claimed that at least one of King’s superiors – Fannie Mae’s director of workplace operations – knew of the situation and did nothing. He even approved King’s expenses for the drunken lunches and business trips, the suit claimed. It was only in December, when Bonnin obtained a restraining order against King, that the company finally fired him, The Daily Beast reported.

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