A woman who spent more than 10 years working for Steve Harvey’s production and radio companies has sued them, claiming the former male president and female secretary had her fired after she refused to join them in sexual encounters.
The lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia said Gerald Washington, former president of Steve Harvey World Group and content president for the Steve Harvey Radio Network, and Meagan Dotson, former secretary for both companies, were involved in an affair in 2016.
Around August of that year, they began asking the plaintiff, Kaliqah Muhammad, to join them for late night meals, and Dotson texted requests for “sexy pictures” of Muhammad, whom Dotson found “very sexy.”
The couple had “thought about [Muhammad] for a long time,” Dotson is quoted as saying in a text.
Washington texted an invitation to Muhammad, saying, “we thought you might have wanted to hang and needed a break” and “wanted to eat and drink till we couldn’t stand up.”
The text continued, saying “we are waiting on you in headed to bed then airport” [sic].”
According to the suit, Muhammad had worked for the Harvey organizations since 2005, when she was hired as a receptionist/travel coordinator. Within a few weeks of refusing Washington and Dotson’s invitations, the complaint said, Dotson told Muhammad she was fired.
Muhammad filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was given permission to sue. Her complaint names Steve Harvey Radio Network Inc. and Steve Harvey World Group Inc. as defendants and levels claims of illegal sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Neither Washington nor Dotson are defendants in the suit.
The Daily Report could not locate contact information for Steve Harvey Radio Network or Steve Harvey World Group. An email request to comment, sent to the Steve Harvey organization through a website, didn’t elicit an immediate response.
The complaint said Washington was president of Steve Harvey World from 2011 to 2017 and president of strategic partnerships and content development for Steve Harvey Radio Network from 2016 through 2017.
Dotson, it said, has been listed as secretary for both organizations in corporate records and was still so listed for Steve Harvey World as of Sept. 8.
Washington is now apparently the president of 2 Market Media in New York, but the Daily Report was not able to reach him on Wednesday.
According to online records, Dotson works at the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation; she also did not immediately respond to requests for comment emailed to her at that organization.
An Atlanta-based attorney with Steve Harvey Enterprises, Inc. did not reply to email or phone messages.
The complaint was filed by Marcus Keegan and Jerilyn Gardner of Atlanta’s Keegan Law Firm.
Keegan said his client had no idea why, after 10 years with Harvey organization, she became a target of her superiors’ attentions.
“She had never been told there were any performance issues; they had told her that there was going to be a reorganization, but that her job was not going to be impacted,” Keegan said.
“What was off to her was that she basically turned down their offer and was terminated,” he said.