Melodie Nannenga, Scottsdale Optometrist, Files Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Nationwide Vision; District Director Retaliated, She Says

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Credit: www.lasikplus.com
Melodie Nannenga, a Scottsdale optometrist, is suing Nationwide Vision for allegedly failing to protect her from retaliation by a former boss who harassed her.

A local optometrist alleges in a federal complaint that Nationwide Vision allowed one of its executives to retaliate against her after she filed a sexual harassment complaint.

Melodie Nannenga claims that soon after she was hired at the Nationwide store at Power Road and Southern Avenue in Mesa in June of 2006, district director Mike Oppat made unwelcome advances and comments to her. He asked her to come with him to his condo in Cabo San Lucas, for example, and told her he was happy she worked at that location because he liked to see her, the lawsuit states.

She complained to her boss, Doctor Palmeiri, who reportedly told her he'd deal with the harassment. Not long after that, the suit says, Oppat sent her a suggestive e-mail:

Mr. Oppat continued his sexual harassment, including sending an email to plaintiff in or around late February-early March 2007 in response to Ms. Nannenga's request to purchase a product of a certain product brand, Heine, telling plaintiff that her "heiny was nice", with the email subject line, "your heine," which Ms. Nannenga believed was referring crudely to her body.


Nannenga complained about Oppat to another of Nationwide's managing doctors, and soon asked Palmeiri if she could transfer to one of Nationwide's Gilbert locations at Power and Ray roads. Palmeiri agreed, and things worked out for a while. When Oppat would come into the store as part of his job to oversee the region's shops, Nannenga would hide out in her office until he was gone.

Then Palmeiri quit Nationwide in March of 2008 -- and Oppat decided to move his office to the stop in which Nannenga worked. In retaliation for her complaint, her lawsuit states, Oppat repeatedly rearranged her work schedule and patient appointments to make life inconvenient for her.

She complained to management again. Nationwide responded by offering to let her work in locations far from her East Valley home, saying that Oppat had a right to work out of the Gilbert office. She told the company she wouldn't work at that office if Oppat was allowed to be there. That was in April of 2008.

Technically, she's still "on the staff but not seeing patients," a store assistant tells us.

Nannenga now works for LasikPlus in Scottsdale.

Nobody returned our calls on this one: Not David Larkin, Nannenga's lawyer. (We couldn't find a number for Nannenga, though we did find her Facebook site.) Not Nationwide Vision's president, Al Bernstein. Not Mike Oppat.

Nannenga seeks back pay and punitive damages.

UPDATE: January 2012 -- Nannenga and Nationwide settle the lawsuit.


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11 comments
Gumba
Gumba

A while back my wife was harrassed in a similar manner.  She had a discussion with her district manager who, as well, assured her the conduct would stop--It didn't.  I then had a very frank, direct discussion with the offending employee about how important it was going to be for him to have health insurance if things didn't cease.  Funny--it was like fucking magic the comments, e-mails an bullsheeeet stopped immediately.  

Shooter McGaven
Shooter McGaven

It seems like a weird choice to go from a beautiful brunette to an average looking fake blond? Why do women do this? As far as the allegation goes, I have no problem believing that she has a creeper for a boss who said shady things. It's not cool, but let's be honest, guys can be creepers. It's not cool, and should not happen- sounds like she got the shit end of the stick.

MulletedDemocrat
MulletedDemocrat

I know these people and I tried to sexually harass them all. They weren't having it. What's up with that?

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

What if we have heard the whole story?    Would you be disappointed?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Interesting. It seems the company might have been more careful to avoid such an action. But, I'm sure we've not heard the whole story....

cannondax
cannondax

Gumba, I like your style. Threat of grevious bodily harm, when the jerk is backed into a corner often reveal the coward inside. Good job!

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