Heather Rome had worked for Development Alternatives Inc., the same company that sent American development worker Alan Gross to Cuba.
Rome was based in Caracas, where DAI was carrying out a project aimed at undermining the government of Hugo Chavez. In 2011, she accused the head of DAI's Venezuela project, Eduardo Fernandez, of misogynistic conduct, according to her lawsuit, filed on Oct. 18, 2011.
Rome said Fernandez harassed and screamed at female subordinates and complained that their office was "as inefficient as a brothel."
Rome said in a court brief:
Examples of Fernandez’s more belligerent and childish behavior catalogued by DAI’s HR Director included:
- Fernandez uses inappropriate words and gestures when he speaks about females - this is done in the presence of other females and the client
- Fernandez refers to females as “pussies”
- Fernandez makes gestures indicating female “boobs” when he refers to certain female visitors
- Fernandez told the office staff “if DAI girls learn to keep the pill between their legs then we would not have to pay for maternity insurance”
- Fernandez creates a very hostile work environment when he screamed and shouted at the staff, almost on a daily basis