Packages of Tom's of Maine toothpaste at a store in Kennebunk. Credit: Joel Page / AP

An Alfred woman claims that the sexual harassment and bullying she endured while working at a Tom’s of Maine plant in York County was ignored by management and forced her to quit.

Sharron Desrochers, 56, sued Colgate-Palmolive Co. Inc. of New York City on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. The company owns Tom’s of Maine.

Desrochers also claims that she was paid less than her male coworkers.

She worked at a Sanford plant that manufactures toothpaste, deodorant and dental floss on the 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift. Desrochers quit on Oct. 2, 2020, after working there for more than four years, the complaint said.

During that time she repeatedly reported that she was being harassed and that men were being paid more than women to do the same job, but the company took no corrective action, according to the complaint. Even after an investigation by the firm’s human resources department substantiated Desrochers’ complaints, nothing changed, Desrochers maintains in the lawsuit.

Colgate-Palmolive “subjected Ms. Desrochers to a toxic work environment for years,” her attorney, James Clifford of Portland said Thursday. “Colgate-Palmolive’s negligence and inaction permitted Sharron’s supervisor and two co-workers to sexually harass, bully, and physically assault her, some of which was even captured on video.”

The company allegedly discriminated against Desrocher based on sex, created a hostile work environment, illegally retatililated against her for reporting the harassment and violated Maine’s equal pay law, Clifford said.

A Portland attorney representing Colgate-Palmolive and a spokesperson for Tom’s of Maine did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Dereochers is seeking unspecified damages for compensatory and punitive damages, including the difference that female and male workers were paid between 2017 and 2020, the time she worked at the plant.