ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (AP) – A former nursing home worker has filed a $9 million federal lawsuit against an upstate county, claiming she’s suffered mental anguish and needs anti-anxiety medication after being forced to prove she was wearing a bra at work.

Karen Tenney claims in the lawsuit against Essex County that a supervisor at the Horace Nye Nursing Home where she worked placed her hand on the back of Tenney’s sweater to feel for a bra clasp.

When a clasp wasn’t found, Tenney, a dietary aide, pulled up her sweater to show she was wearing a black sports bra. The move triggered other workers inside the dietary unit to show off the bras they were wearing.

“I feel that the actions of those involved constitute sexual harassment under federal and state law,” Tenney said in court papers. “I have been constructively terminated by the actions of … my employer and (the) failure to stop this harassment.”

The undergarment check happened in April after nursing home officials received a complaint that Tenney was not wearing a bra as required by county policy.

Besides Essex County, which is in the Adirondacks, Tenney also names in her lawsuit the nursing home, county Attorney Richard Meyer and the state Civil Service Employees Union.

“We contend the suit is without merit,” Meyer told a reporter.


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