Israeli airline El Al sued in sexual harassment case

An employee of Israel's national airline El Al filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the carrier, claiming her supervisor repeatedly groped her and demanded that she have sex with him.

Clara Perez, 50, said in court papers that her supervisor Willie Licht, the head of US ground operations for El Al, has been commenting on her body, grabbing her buttocks and demanding sex from her since they met in the summer of 2002.

Perez, an El Al employee for 15 years, said in her lawsuit that her supervisor created a totally hostile work environment.' Her court papers alleged that Licht has accused her of running a bordello and having sex with the airline's pilots and passengers.

Perez's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, seeks unspecified damages and legal fees from Licht and the airline.

Perez, a divorced mother who lives with her two teenagers, said in her lawsuit that El Al management did nothing when she complained about her treatment by her supervisor. She said she even traveled to Israel in 2003 to complain in person to several of the airline's top executives.

El Al's personnel department sent Perez a letter dated Dec. 21, 2006, saying, Based on our investigation, we were unable to substantiate your allegations of improper conduct.' The letter is filed with her court papers.

Perez's lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, said they gave her two demotions (in title, but not in work responsibility) since she complained, so she's getting 60 percent of her former pay for the same work.'

When she had a female supervisor in 2004, Jaroslawicz said, she got an Employee of the Year award from the airline's US general manager.

Neither El Al's public relations department nor its lawyer immediately returned a telephone call for comment Tuesday. Licht could not be reached for comment.

Perez's court papers say that at least four sexual harassment lawsuits have been filed against El Al in recent years by female employees.

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