Former employee sues Portland PR firm, alleging she was drugged at a holiday party

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A woman who claims she was drugged at a holiday party for a Portland public relations firm is suing her former employer, claiming she was fired after asking for accommodations while she recovered.

Diana Salas said she was drugged at the party for TrueLine Publishing on Dec. 18, 2016. Her federal lawsuit said Hamjil Carr, the president of the firm, encouraged her to do shots and she feared she was drugged when she drank the alcohol.

The suit doesn’t allege that Carr drugged her and doesn’t specify the drug Salas suspects was in the shots she drank. The suit also says that Salas filed a complaint with Portland police a few days after the party and the police opened an investigation, but doesn’t say whether the investigation was completed and what the police determined.

Salas said that after the incident at the party, she was diagnosed with acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder and she asked for permission to be able to work alone while she was treated for those disorders.

Instead, in early January, Salas’ suit alleges she was fired. According to a memo from the company’s human resources manager, the suit said, “it appears you are unhappy with your job” and then makes a reference to a lack of collaboration with other members of the firm’s design team.

According to Salas, the human resources manager told her the firing was not because of her work, the suit said.

A call to TrueLine seeking comment was not immediately returned Thursday morning, but the company’s lawyer denies the charges.

Salas filed a complaint over the firing with the Maine Human Rights Commission. In April, she received a right-to-sue letter from the commission, which can be issued if the commission fails to act on a complaint within 180 days of filing.

Her suit was initially filed in Superior Court in Cumberland County and moved to federal court in early August.

This story will be updated.

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