Iredell County former sheriff named among top 10 worst bosses

Retired Iredell County Sheriff Phil Redmond has been named one of America’s top 10 worst bosses of 2014 by a national workplace-watchdog website.

Redmond ranked as America’s sixth-worst boss on the annual list released by eBossWatch, a website where people can rate their bosses and evaluate potential employers.

Redmond made the list because of a sexual-harassment lawsuit that cost Iredell County $475,000.

Two women filed the lawsuit in 2012, claiming that Ben Jenkins, then a domestic violence investigator, made lewd sexual remarks to them and continually propositioned and stalked them. Both women were victims of domestic violence, the lawsuit said.

The women said in the lawsuit that Redmond and other sheriff’s officials did little to punish Jenkins.

Jenkins was fired this year after the county paid the money to settle the lawsuit in federal court in Statesville.

Redmond decided against seeking re-election in November. Redmond didn’t respond to requests for comment from the Observer after the lawsuit was settled and couldn’t be reached Monday.

The 2014 America’s Worst Bosses have cost their employers more than $21 million in monetary damages and lawsuit-settlement payments, said Asher Adelman, eBossWatch founder and CEO. Of that amount, 56 public-sector bosses have cost taxpayers $15 million, Adelman said.

The 2014 list includes three mayors, five judges, 19 law enforcement officers and officials, 12 restaurant bosses and a venture capitalist, according to the eBossWatch website.

A panel of workplace experts selected and ranked the worst bosses from throughout the country.

The states with the biggest number of bad bosses on this year’s list were New York (13), Texas (11), California (11), New Mexico (5), Georgia (5), New Jersey (4) and Kentucky (4).

The managers who made this year’s list of America’s Worst Bosses were named in workplace lawsuits or accused of workplace harassment and/or sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or creating a hostile work environment, the website states.