A two-year old lawsuit against Eversource alleging sexual discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment has been settled and withdrawn by the employee who filed it.
Linda Sullivan of Berlin filed the lawsuit against Eversource and members of the Gas Business Unit, where she started in 1998, when it was known as Yankee Gas Service Co., according to the suit.
Eversource denied any allegations of wrongdoing in its response to the complaint filed in New Britain Superior Court. The case had been set to go to trial, according to court records.
"Details of the settlement are confidential so we are not able to comment,” said Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross.
Attorneys for Sullivan and Eversource could not be reached for comment.
Sullivan did not receive a promotion to the position of director gas meter services in 2014, after being told she was a “strong candidate,” according to the complaint. After complaining that managers were engaging in discriminatory hiring practices, Sullivan said she was subjected to retaliation as well as sexual harassment.
At the time of the filing, Sullivan was on a special assignment outside of the Gas Business unit. It is unclear if she is still with the company.
The settlement comes at a time when Eversource is seeking a rate hike from customers to cover added repair costs from storms that occurred in October 2017, three nor’easters in March 2018 and a tornado-wind-rain storm in May 2018. The utility claims it spent $152.5 million over two years to make emergency repairs to damage caused by the storms.
Gross said that legal settlements are borne by shareholders, not rate-paying customers.
Rich Sobolewski, who supervises financial analysis of utility rate requests for the state Office of Consumer Counsel, said the office considers legal fees and settlements when considering rate requests.
The Office of Consumer Counsel considers all financial evidence when it sets rates for three years, he said. But much of it is timing — if it’s a normal recurring business expense, then they look at an average. But rate payers shouldn’t be charged for legal settlements, he said.