Dumbeck sued

The woman who alleged she was denied multiple promotions because of sexual discrimination at the department of job and family services has sued the agency and its outgoing director. Nichole Baker, who began as a file clerk at the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services (HCDJFS) Jan. 12, 2004, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the department, the Huron County Commissioners, department director Erich Dumbeck and human resources administrator Bonnie Richards. Baker claims she was passed over for five promotions and has suffered discrimination at work because of "Dumbeck's infatuation with her," according to the complaint.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010


The woman who alleged she was denied multiple promotions because of sexual discrimination at the department of job and family services has sued the agency and its outgoing director.

Nichole Baker, who began as a file clerk at the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services (HCDJFS) Jan. 12, 2004, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the department, the Huron County Commissioners, department director Erich Dumbeck and human resources administrator Bonnie Richards. Baker claims she was passed over for five promotions and has suffered discrimination at work because of "Dumbeck's infatuation with her," according to the complaint.

Baker alleges that between January 2004 and January 2007 Dumbeck did the following:

"Made unwelcome physical contact ... including but not limited to touching (Baker) on the hips, shoulders and back."

"Made an unwelcome advance toward (Baker) in at a bar in Norwalk."

Sought out Baker's company, both at work and at home, and called her cell phone.

Made suggestive comments to Baker and brought her gifts.

Dumbeck could not be reached for comment, but has in the past declined to speak about Baker's allegations. Dumbeck announced last week that he will be resigning as director of HCDJFS June 1.

The suit states that Dumbeck was married with two children at the time the "unwanted" contact began, and Baker was a single mother of one in a relationship with a single man.

The complaint contends Baker made attempts to remedy the situation in 2004, contacting her union and Richards about the situation. The union did not file a grievance or take another action, and the complaint claims Richards "told (Baker) she was responsible for Defendant Dumbeck's conduct and that (Baker) was 'flattered' to have attention from a powerful man."

Following those attempts, the complaint maintains two anonymous letters were sent to the commissioners later that year stating Dumbeck was "'having an affair with an employee of this agency' and that the affair 'had not been discrete and is causing many problems.'"

Baker said the unwanted behavior continued and, after her fifth failure to obtain a promotion in October 2006, she filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment and hostile work environment with the Huron County Commissioners.

The board assigned its EEO Officer Lynn Chapin to investigate the claim. Chapin found that the decisions to not promote Baker were not related to her relationship with Dumbeck, though Chapin did find that Dumbeck was contacting Baker in a manner Baker found unneeded and undesired.

Baker said she has been discriminated against and is disliked at HCDJFS either for complaining about Dumbeck or for his attention to her, the lawsuit alleges.

The complaint further states that Baker suffered lost wages and opportunity to advance; loss of future earnings and reputation; humiliation, embarrassment and loss of self-esteem; and adverse health effects.

"Dumbeck knew or should have known that his continued inappropriate efforts to establish an intimate relationship with (Baker) caused her serious emotional distress," the complaint states, going on to say his treatment of her was "so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond the bounds of decency and would be considered intolerable by an reasonable person in a civilized community."

Baker has requested the court order the agency to promote her with backpay to the position she failed to get in October 2006, and compensate her for adverse emotional and health effects in addition to a request for punitive damages from Dumbeck and Richards.

Commissioner Mike Adelman said he could not comment directly on the lawsuit, but did say the commissioners stood by Chapin's finding that Baker's claims were unsubstantiated. He said the lawsuit was likely prompted by the board's decision.

"I'm sure she was less than pleased with that," he said.


Applause (Anonymous)

Anonymous -- While I totally applaud your sentiment, I hope that when they do decide to crack down, it will include putting an end to name-calling, like "retard" and "white trash."

Anonymous (Anon...

Good for her. A person in his position in this day and age should know better than to crap where he eats. I hope she gets everything she asks for.

tommy boy (Anon...

Let's see... She's ticked because there were others that got the jobs she wanted and didn't have sex, but she had sex and didn't get any of the promotions. Is there something missing here?

anonymous (Anon...


anonymous (Anon...


JimBob (Anonymous)

What a bunch of crap! Can't do her the job to get a promotion, so let's blame someone else and file a lawsuit. Is the attorney listed in the funny pages?

disgusted (Anon...

Comment removed for violation of the terms of use.

non biased (Ano...

Note to "Be decent" et al:
These comments are entertaining. This is the best thing the Rejector has done since Sudoku.

I agree, though, that the line should be drawn at mean-spirited, personal attacks that border on slander/libel. And it's up to us to keep each other honest. We can't expect the Rejector to do it for us.

By the way, did anyone notice whose name showed up in the foreclosure listings in today's paper? Dumbeck ring a bell???

anonymous (Anon...

It's about time Mr. Dumbeck leaves the agency. I hope his wife is smart and gets a divorce.

mary ellen (Ano...

Goodnight john boy, goodnight jim bob, goodnight grandpa.... I don't believe Nicole WAS having sex with Mr. Dumbeck.(she has to have better taste) She was denied promotions because she turned that PIG down!

JimBob (Anonymous)

Dear disgusted, You are way off base to say Adelman is a personal friend of Dumbeck's, because I know that he is not. We all know there have been some problems, and I like many don't know the whole story on this matter, but I trust that things will be worked out and set right.

hello (Anonymous)

I like how everyone is blaming Mr. Dumbeck last time I checked this woman was old enough to make up her own mind and why would she wait 3 freaking years to report a supposedly unwanted relationship after the fact that she stalked his wife. Secondly wouldn't he have wanted to give her the promotion to keep her mouth shut about the affair. Maybe that's just common sense that some of you are lacking.

carrot top (Ano...

Disguising the f-word in your post is what is really disgusting, disgusted. And I also don't consider my work in a factory as a lowly job. Get off your classless high horse and join the real world.

big mountaim (A...

Anonymous, you must be one of the troublemakers at Job & Family Services. How about getting to work and getting off this website!

concerned (Anon...

this is very sad that you all are talking like this about a woman who is doing the right thing. if this was your mom, daughter or a female friend, wouldn't you support them. these laws are here to protect us and yet when someone uses them, they continue to get grief. and for the comment of why now, because he didn't stop and he would still be doing it this date if it wasn't for her filing the lawsuit. she obviously gave the county the opportunity to do the right thing several times and they blew it off like they do everything else in the papers. as for stalking his wife, doubt that......these negative comments towards nicole are obviously from dumbeck's family and friends. good for you nicole for standing up and doing the right thing. i am a parent and i would want my daughter to stand up for herself. shame on all of them.

disgusted (Anon...

I also work at a factory! I know I don't have a LOWLY job and neithor do you carrot top! What I meant by my comment is that Eric DumBECK looks at US as lowly and beneath him and his high position has allowed him to take advantage of Nicole. If Mr. DumBECK DID work in a factory, he would likely work as a supervisor and would use that position to take full advantage of me or you or someone else like he did to Nicole. As far as using the F word as a part of that mans name; He DOES NOT DESERVE MY RESPECT! However, if I have offended any readers, I sincerely apoligize.

carrot top (Ano...

I sure as heck don't know the whole story here, but Dumbeck didn't seem to be looking down at people when he was able to get a million dollars through some kind of a special program last year, and then got vouchers out to those who could use the help to buy kids winter clothing and put some gas in vehicles. I know I was very thankful.

i'd rather not....

having met both of these individuals - they're both full of crap!

ridiculous (Ano...

i'd rather not........i'm sure you're the biggest piece of crap of them all!!! takes a really GREAT person to call two people this.....i can only imagine which one of the losers in the dumbeck clan you are!!

Pam (Anonymous)

I sure hope with Dumbeck stepping down that someone will be brought in that can run HCDJFS witht he integrity that the community deserves. Anytime a call is placed to report abuse the caller is told to mind their own business. Maybe if someone at the agency gave a crap about the job they are paid to do we would not have dead infants, dead foster children that were entrusted to the care of these uncaring people. I sure hope the county commissioners do the right thing and revamp the whole agency. The community deserves to have an agency that is respectable and treats all who use it with the utmost respect. People should not be looked down on when they go to an agency for help.

i'd rather not....

ridiculous: read what i wrote again, I didn't call either person crap, i said that they are full of crap.

Get a life (Ano...

As usual, people with little or no real facts about a story decide to spout off like they have all the facts. Let everything play out in court and let a jury decide. Don't show your stupidity by hoping on here and acting like you know something. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't. It's he said vs. she said at this point.

Rebecca (Anonymous)

I'd like to start by saying this..whether or not his advances were welcomed- IT IS NOT ALLOWED. IT IS NOT MORAL.
He is not only married...he was in a position of authority. He took on that role and did not conduct himself accordingly.
Nicole was in a position that she gets paid for. She needs money like every other person to pay bills and such. She probably has to drive to work and clock in like everybody else. If your boss did this and you have kid(s) to feed,rent coming up,and insurance that assures you go to the doctor..would you walk out the door today?;knowing that you could file against/have a 50/50 shot of your word compared to someone "important" and be outta work for God only knows how long?!
After all..being off work in the meantime-she wouldn't be able to file for gov.assistance now would she?
I knew her for a long time..haven't seen her in a long time either. BUT I will say:she is a moral person with alot of class.She was caught in a situation that most of the people reading this could never handle. If she wins- good. It doesn't take away the fact that a LEADER abused his power and ruined families (including his own) and didn't handle himself with morals. If she loses- she should still be proud of herself for handling it with dignity and honor. It's hard to have your life put out there in the paper!
I feel bad for Nicole,his family,her family,his fellow workers,the community,etc. He made the promises to uphold and protect- be mad at him not her!

DARLA (Anonymous)

you said it all Rebecca. this lazy creap who was NEVER quailified for the job in the first place, abused that and so much more.I dont feel sorry for his co-dependent wife either. She can only be staying with him for those fat paychecks. Wake up honey- they will be ending very soon. He will be lucky to get a job being a Wal-Mart greeter.Good luck to her- I hope she wins her lawsuit.

JimBob (Anonymous)

Darla, since you're speaking as someone in the know, who was qualified for the job in the first place? And why such a dislike for the guy's wife? Please enlighten us.

hey (Anonymous)

darla have you even met his wife? probably not i'm guessing let me tell you she is not co-dependent and the paychecks he probably got didn't amount to very much when he probably had to deal with more than his share of crap at that place. so unless you have met his wife then maybe you should just keep your senseless opinions to yourself. i am so glad you are such a better person than the rest of us to judge someone you don't even know!!!!

laughing (Anonymous)

and you're not judging someone you know "hey".....are you serious??? you have no clue who you are talking to when it comes to Darla but you sure have your senseless comments about her now don't you. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! his wife is very well aware of what's going on and she doesn't work, so how would she make it with three kids on her own. this is a comfort for her and she deserves every tear she sheds for staying with that liar/cheater!!

anonymous (Anon...

I have met Heather and Eric both. He has taken full advantage of her and his children just like Nicole and the others. Heather needs to grow up and get herself and her kids out of this toxic relationship. I got divorced from a pig JUST LIKE ERIC. I did this with 3 kids (one of which has a handicap) and little job skills at the time. That was 15 years ago. I did this alone for 10 years, during which time I worked wherever I could, did NOT go on welfare, and I am now happily remarried. I don't feel one bit sorry for Heather for choosing to stay with a PIG who has no problem publicly humiliating his wife and children. He is disgusting and deserves everything bad coming his way. Just remember, luck ALWAYS runs out, good or bad, and lies always come back to haunt.

Reflector Staff...

We at the Reflector appreciate everyone who has taken advantage of the comment feature on our Web site. We hope our site provides a place the community can come to debate and discuss important issues. However, we would ask everyone maintain some semblance of civility, politeness and courtesy. The Reflector will not edit posts, but we will take down any posts that violate this basic code of conduct. We ask that you try to refrain from name calling and the use of vulgar language as it does not further intelligent debate.

Bystander (Anon...

I would take issue with Anonymous' use of the word "PIG," in a derogatory manner to describe Mr. Dumbeck. Pigs are, after all, cleaner and smarter than most other animals -- studies have shown them to be as smart as 3-year-old humans. They are sensate beings and deserve our respect. They wallow in mud to stay cool (they do not sweat, so don't say you "sweat like a pig,") and to shield their skin from the sun's harmful rays. Sounds pretty damn smart to me.

So take it easy on the pigs. They don't deserve to be compared to humans like Mr. Dumbeck.