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State Workers Say They Were Fired After Reporting Sexual Harassment Against Former UK Star

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) -  Two former employees of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet filed a suit Thursday saying they were terminated from their jobs for reporting that former Kentucky Basketball star Winston Bennett was sexually harassing women in the workplace.

Michael Donta and Christina Columber have filed whistleblower lawsuits in Franklin County.

Bennet worked for the cabinet for 10 weeks before he was eventually fired for sending inappropriate messages to coworkers. The Courier Journal obtained the emails under the Kentucky Open Records Act. The newspaper said in one email, Winston Bennett told a cabinet employee she was "Too hot to trot. Especially on those skirt and dress days, lips stick matching. Lord have mercy. LOL!!! Not too old by a long shot."

Bennett was appointed by Governor Matt Bevin.

In his suit, Donta says he worked at the cabinet for 10 years but was terminated after complaining about the behavior he witnessed.  After performing an internet search, he found information saying that Bennet was a self-proclaimed "sex addict."

When he reported the information, the suit states his concerns were dismissed by the Commissioner reportedly saying, "Not our problem, not our call."

The separate suits allege uncomfortable encounters that were witnessed by many people including 'forced hugs for extended periods of time." Columber also claims that Bennett forced a kiss upon her and made comments on her looks. 

The two seek punitive damages against the Labor Cabinet. Both lawsuits are available below.

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