By DEEPTI HAJELA Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) _ A woman who works as an NBA security official
has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit saying she was
removed from an assignment to the 2012 Summer Games in London after
she spurned an advance from Connecticut and women’s national coach
Kelley Hardwick is suing Auriemma, the NBA and USA Basketball.
The suit was filed Monday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Hardwick is a former detective with the New York police
department who started working for the NBA in security in 2002. She
says in the suit that as part of her job duties, she managed
security for the U.S. women at international basketball events,
including the Olympics in 2004 and 2008.
It was at one of these tournaments, a 2009 trip to Russia, that
she says she met Auriemma. According to the lawsuit, one night
after Auriemma wedged his way into a conversation with Hardwick and
a co-worker in a hotel lounge, he followed her to the door of her
room and tried to kiss her.
“Plaintiff was startled but, utilizing her training as a police
officer and security professional, reacted quickly by shoving him
away and stating, `What are you doing? You better check yourself
before you get hurt!”’ the suit says.
Hardwick says in the suit she told supervisors about the
incident, but that nothing was done. In subsequent international
trips, according to the suit, Auriemma avoided her but was
uncomfortable with her being there.
In March, Hardwick says she learned of a conference call
involving NBA officials in which Auriemma demanded that she be
taken off the security assignment for the London Games.
In a statement issued through UConn, Auriemma said, “I was
unaware of this lawsuit until hearing about it through a media
report today and will therefore have no comment.” Auriemma is one
of the elite coaches in women’s basketball and has guided the
Huskies to seven national titles _ including four perfect seasons.
As part of the lawsuit, Hardwick also says that the NBA
discriminated against her due to her gender, that she was denied
promotions, raises, and employment opportunities because she was a
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league doesn’t comment on
Hardwick is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well
as back pay.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)