A California Court of Appeal reversed the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former legal secretary against a Century City law firm and one of its attorneys. Jeri Elster had alleged that attorney Joel Fishman repeatedly sent her copies of sexually explicit emails, and that Finestone & Richter, APC chose not to stop to it despite her complaints. The trial judge had found these claims to be inadequate and dismissed the case.
In a sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint filed with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Francine Godoy accuses Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar of sexual harassment. Ms. Godoy, former deputy chief of staff, stated in her complaint that she was "subjected to sexual harassment [quid pro quo and hostile work environment] and retaliated against when I refused advances." Her complaint alleges that she was harassed and retaliated against for refusing to engage in sex with Councilman Huizar. Godoy further alleges that she was subjected to "impermissible, non-job-related questions," "a work environment [not] free of discrimination," termination and demotion and even a "sabotaged ability to run for office."
A verdict of $1.5 million was awarded recently in a sexual harassment case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against employer New Breed Logistics, a North Carolina-based logistics services provider. The verdict was rendered on behalf of four employees. It included awards of $177,094 in back pay and $486,000 in compensatory damages, as well as $850,000 in punitive damages. Puntive damages are awarded to punish a company whose conduct is found to be malicious or wilfull.
On August 5, 2013, a twelve person jury found Palm Desert real estate developer Suresh Shah guilty of sexually harassing Karen Moran. Ms. Moran was a former leasing agent for Shah and the mall manager at the Town Center Mall in Yucca Valley.
A federal jury awarded $20,251,963 to eight former employees of Four Amigos Travel, Inc. and Top Dog Travel, Inc., a Florida vacation agency with offices in Largo, Orlando and Lake Lauderdale, Fla., who suffered sexual harassment and retaliation. The verdict was announced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently. It was alleged by the EEOC, which filed suit on behalf of the four employees, that travel agency owner R. Schlom and male managers working at Four Amigos / Top Dog's Largo facility subjected female employees to egregious sexual harassment every day. The harassment included unwanted sexual advances, physical touching and repeated propositions for sex (quid pro quo) in a work environment filled with sexual banter, abuse of power and disrespect for women. The company also fired a manager for bringing the victims' complaints forward, according to the suit.
Sexual harassment is a common, but sometimes under-recognized, workplace hazard that affects up to 70 percent of women and 45 percent of men in the workplace according to a noted a sociologist. Most often it involves a harasser creating a "hostile work environment." This occurs when an employee feels intimidated or uncomfortable due to persistent inappropriate sexual remarks and innuendo in the workplace. Harassment can also involve a "quid pro quo" scenario, where sexual favors are demanded in exchange for keeping one's job.
While there are many reasons that victims of sexual harassment delay in bringing claims, such as fear, shame or embarassment, it is critical to comply with certain deadlines.
There are two main types of workplace sexual harassment. The first is quid pro quo. The second is a hostile work environment.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner admitted Thursday "that I need help" in response to several sexual harassment complaints against him. Despite calls for his resignaton, Filner did not say he would resign. He apologized for his treatment of women and vowed to change his behavior. "I'm clearly doing something wrong," he said.
There is term in the law called "eggshell skull" plaintiff. This refers to a doctrine in tort (i.e. injury) law where the injured person (called the plaintiff in a lawsuit) is unusually susceptible to injury and therefore suffers more than a so-called "normal" plaintiff. The eggshell skull doctrine does not only apply to physical injuries, but applies to emotional and psychological injuries as often found in sexual harassment cases.