Kevin Klock was the CEO of Talking Rain until March.
Klock, 48, suddenly left the Preston-based beverage company nine days after an employee told a supervisor Klock had sexually harassed her in his hotel suite during a business trip to Las Vegas.
That now-former employee spoke with KIRO 7 on Tuesday from her attorney’s office in downtown Seattle.
She asked KIRO 7 not use her name because she’s an alleged victim and because she claims it’s been very difficult to find another job.
“It was very normal for Kevin to have meetings in his hotel room,” the woman said of working with Klock.
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“I’d done it a dozen times before. And I went.”
The woman claims, in a civil lawsuit filed against Talking Rain and Klock in King County Superior Court, that during the meeting March 1, 2017, the climate was sexually charged and inappropriate.
“I got that gut feeling of just, 'I need to leave,'” she said.
“And then I really got the gut feeling because he got down on his knees and he was definitely slurring his words at the time and asked me, ‘Do you want pleasure?’ while he was kneeling beside me, near my legs, and that’s when I got up very abruptly. I said, 'You are drunk. I’m leaving.'”
Nine days later, Klock no longer worked for Talking Rain.
The company won't comment on why he left.
Even the woman suing the company and Klock doesn't know for sure. “They didn’t say,” she told KIRO 7.
Judith Lonnquist, who has practiced law for over 50 years, won't discuss the details of what her client allegedly suffered. It was “clearly sexual harassment,” Lonnquist said, and “probably” sexual assault, although no criminal charges have been filed.
The plaintiff told KIRO 7 she would never have filed a lawsuit if it wasn't for what allegedly happened after Klock left the company.
She claims in her civil complaint for damages that Talking Rain retaliated against her, removed her from a leadership team and uninvited her from an incentive trip among other things. She's suing for sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination.
“Coming forward, you might think, is the hardest part. But it’s not,” she said. “It’s the aftermath that you’re left to deal with that is the most difficult part.”
She and Lonnquist agreed to talk with KIRO 7, to encourage others to speak out and power through what might come after making sexual harassment allegations.
“The only way we’re ever going to change the environment in America’s workforce is to have brave women, like my client and others, come forward and say ‘This is wrong,’” Lonnquist told KIRO 7.
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