Washington Post reporter sues paper and former editor Marty Baron, alleging discrimination after she publicly disclosed sexual assault


The reporter, Felicia Sonmez, had previously said that she had been prohibited from covering stories about sexual misconduct because she had been outspoken about being a sexual assault survivor herself.
As a national politics reporter, the ban had kept her from writing stories about how the #MeToo movement had upended politics, such as the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process.
The ban was eventually lifted earlier this year, the lawsuit said, after Sonmez criticized the newspaper both privately and in public over the policy. It was instituted during the tenure of former Executive Editor Marty Baron, who retired from the paper in February.
But, while The Post did lift its ban on her ability to write stories on sexual misconduct issues, Sonmez's lawsuit said that severe damage had already been done.
The lawsuit alleged that she had suffered "economic loss, humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress, and the deprivation of her rights to equal employment opportunities."
"At various times, Ms. Sonmez became severely depressed, developed intense anxiety and received treatment from therapists and psychiatrists who she continues to see today," Sonmez's lawsuit said, adding that she was also prescribed anti-depressant medication that she continues to take.
"She also experienced physical pain, including severe pain in her jaw from grinding her teeth at night," the lawsuit continued, saying she "eventually developed temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder" because of the actions taken by The Post and its editors.
As a result, the lawsuit said, she "had to undergo two oral surgery procedures to relieve the pain in her jaw."
Sonmez filed her complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She named as defendants The Post and Baron as well as Managing Editor Cameron Barr; Managing Editor Tracy Grant; National Editor Steven Ginsberg; Deputy National Editor Lori Montgomery; and Senior Politics Editor Peter Wallsten. Spokespeople for The Post did not immediately have any comment. Baron declined comment.
Sonmez said in a statement to CNN Business that she believed "survivors of trauma, including sexual assault, deserve the full support of their newsrooms."
"They should never have to fear that they will be punished, silenced or barred from doing their jobs because of what was done to them," she said.
The man who Sonmez says assaulted her has denied the allegations and said the encounter was consensual.
The lawsuit from Sonmez asks for compensatory and punitive damages as well as a permanent injunction ordering The Post and its editors to "take all affirmative steps necessary to remedy the effects of the illegal, discriminatory and retaliatory conduct described" in the lawsuit.