Lawsuit says Kansas City recycling firm owner wronged woman


A former employee of a Kansas City recycling company has filed a lawsuit saying she was fired after her relationship with the owner ended, and that the owner distributed private images of her without her permission.

The woman, 59, began working in June 2013 as the assistant to John Langley, the owner of Langley Recycling, and her duties included helping him with employment and personal errands, her lawyers said. About a month into the job, Langley made physical and romantic advances, and the two began a relationship, according to her lawsuit.

But during her employment, Langley told her he had engaged in relationships with at least two of his former assistants, saying he used one of them “for the sex,” according to the woman’s lawsuit, which was filed in November in Jackson County Circuit Court and has been moved to the Western District of Missouri. The lawsuit claims gender discrimination and retaliation.

He told her he ended those relationships and fired the assistants, her lawyers said.

After that, the woman was not sure if her job would be safe if she did not oblige in their relationship. He threatened to fire her after arguments in their relationship, according to her attorneys.

In October 2018, Langley sent private sexual images of the woman without her consent to another man, according to her attorneys. Once their relationship was “broken,” her attorneys said, he terminated her employment.

Without the woman’s consent, Langley also posted at least one sexual image of the woman on the internet, according to the woman’s lawsuit.

One of the woman’s attorneys, Chris Playter, said his client has gone to counseling to work through some of the issues stemming from her employment. But she’s still hurt and becomes emotional when they talk about it, he said.

“This is still a very painful incident,” Playter said.

Langley’s attorneys did not return a call to their office seeking comment Monday.

An employee who answered the phone at the recycling center said Langley was not currently in Kansas City. The employee said he did not know how The Star might reach him. Other attempts to reach him for comment Monday evening were not successful.

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Luke Nozicka covers crime and courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news for The Des Moines Register.

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