Four Northern Virginia women have filed suit against their employer, the Allstate Insurance Co., and a medical services firm, alleging they were sexually assaulted during a routine preemployment physical.
In papers filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, the four women claim a technician working for Physical Measurements, Inc., Allstate's designated agent for the physicals, fondled their breasts and penetrated their vaginas with his unprotected fingers during examinations in his McLean office in October 1978. The man, Robert Borden Miller Jr. of Kensington, is not a doctor, the suit said.
Named with Allstate in the suit were Miller, Physical Measurements Inc., and Pam Jenkins, the personnel director at one of Allstate's Fairfax offices who allegedly directed the women to the firm.
Joyce Williams of Dale City, Frances Seamons of Fairfax, Phyllis Oram of Arlington and Regina Yarber of Alexandria each are seeking $500,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.
They claim that, as a result of the alleged assault, they suffered "severe emotional distress, fright, humiliation, embarrassment, shame, insomnia, frigidity and general fear of sex and medical attention and in particular gynecological treatment, a fear of men and general anxiety," according to the suit.
Miller, who quit his job as supervisor of medical examiners at Physical Measurements Inc. a month after the incident allegedly occurred, declined to comment on the women's allegations.
Miller now is employed at George Washington University Hospital as an executive associate in the hospital's department of medicine. Miller would say only that the case has no bearing on his current employment because he is now doing a "totally different line of work."
"I'm not really dealing medically at this time," said Miller, who performs administrative and planning tasks for the hospital.
According to Kenneth R. Weiner, attorney for the four women, his clients applied for jobs as Allstate claims representatives last year and were told by Jenkins that the company required that they take a free medical exam provided by Allstate. The test was to check their eyesight, heartbeat and blood pressure, Weiner said.
Jenkins then arranged the examinations with Physical Measurements Inc., a national firm that performs physical testing in connection with insurance and employment, and led the women to believe they were being tested by a doctor, Weiner said. Instead, according to the attorney, Miller was a medical technician qualified only to conduct eye examinations.
Miller performed the required tests, but in each case he also "did a pelvic examination with his bare hands, with the women standing up," Weiner said.
A spokesman for Equifax Inc. of Atlanta, Physical Measurement's parent corporation, said the company had received no previous complaints about Miller.
The spokesman, Peter Wallace, said Miller had undergone an extensive background check before being hired for the position at Physical Measurements Inc. but declined to disclose the report's findings.
Wallace said it is Physical Measurement's policy that employes not conduct any type of pelvic examination on clients. "In no way did PMI authorize anybody to perform these kinds of activities," Wallace said.
Only in rare instances, when Physical Measurements performs electrocardiogram testing, are patients asked to disrobe partially, Wallace said. In those cases, it is company policy that only female employes perform the tests on female patients.
Physical Measurements Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Equifax Inc., and accounts for $8.4 million of the corporation's $307.9 million annual business. Equifax specialized in services related to the insurance industry, including credit reporting services, health testing and market research.
Paul M. Wolff, who is representing Allstate in the suit, said the insurance firm stopped using the services of Physical Measurements as soon as it learned of the women's complaint. He said Allstate had received no earlier complaints about Miller.