Posted On: January 31, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Spring Valley Mayor

Monique Anderson an employee working for the village of Spring Valley New York filed a lawsuit accusing Mayor George Darden of sexual harassment as she claims he routinely subjected her to graphic, obscenity-laced suggestions in an attempt to coerce her to have sex with him. Anderson claims the actions of the Mayor created a hostile work environment. According to her lawsuit Anderson claims Darden systematically subjected her to a hostile work environment based on her gender and that, on at least one occasion, he attempted to forcibly subject her to "tongue kissing.

According to the Jounral News, Annderson repeatedly told Darden that she was offended by his conduct and when she rebuffed his advances Darden began to describe to her in explicit and graphic detail the physical activities he intended to engage in with another, unnamed female employee.

Anderson runs the Section 8 office, a federal program that provides housing vouchers to low-income residents. According to Darden Anderson's office is the focus of a separate investigation into possible misuse of funds by federal housing authorities--which began before her sexual harassment complaint.

Posted On: January 30, 2009

Firefighter Lawsuit Settled after Jury Verdict of $757,000 Thrown Out

A sexual harassment lawsuit that was filed almost five years ago by four female Jackson Mississippi firefighters, Tiffany Alexander, Sandra Hawkins, Jacqueline Moore and Stacy Prophet, who alleged their male supervisors made unwanted advances and inappropriate comments, and groped them was settled yesterday for an undisclosed amount of money. In addition to the financial portion of the settlement, the Jackson Fire Department ("JFD") must institute yearly sensitivity training.

In 2007, a jury awarded the women a total of $757,000 but the Judge citing jury error and misconduct by one of the plaintiff's attorneys, threw out the award in March 2008 and ordered a new trial. The second trial was expected this year.

Prophet said she had dreams of becoming one of the best firefighters, but sexual harassment by male supervisors forced her to leave the department
Prophet, who now resides in Tennessee, said she can now put the Fire Department behind her, according to the ClarionLedger.

Continue reading " Firefighter Lawsuit Settled after Jury Verdict of $757,000 Thrown Out " »

Posted On: January 29, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Islip Clerks Office

Lorraine Fitzpatrick an employee in the Islip Town Clerk's office has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Town Clerk Regina Duffy alleging that Duffy touched and kissed her, then penalized her when she objected. In a court document dated Dec. 19, 2008 Fitzpatrick said that Duffy had sexually harassed her with "unwelcome sexual touching, kissing, and rubbing." Additionally Duffy retaliated with "poor performance evaluations, suspensions without pay, the taking away of vacation time and salary, increased supervision and a demotion of position responsibilities."

A second employee, Diane Colletti, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), alleging that Duffy, 60 has been pushing out older female employees, according to Colletti's attorney, Eden Mauro of Syosset. This would be a form of age discrimination.

Posted On: January 28, 2009

Copia Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $250,000

Former Copia employee Crystal Tynan alleged that she had been sexually harassed by Copia’s former Director of Operations Art Ferretti and filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in Napa County Superior Court. Tynan simultaneously filed an arbitration claim, Tynan v. Copia, et al 26-40825 making the same allegations. Tynan and Copia agreed to settle the lawsuit for $250,000, with Copia making no admission of liability.

To throw a monkey wrench into the settlement, Copia filed for protection under Bankruptcy two weeks after the settlement and therefore the settlement was on hold pending approval of the Bankruptcy court. Yesterday U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Alan Jaroslovsky ruled that Copia’s liability insurance company can pay the $250,000 settlement ending the sexual harassment lawsuit.

Copia was a non-profit discovery center whose mission was to explore, celebrate and share the many pleasures and benefits of wine, its relationship to food and its significance to our culture. Copia opened in 2001 and closed in November 2008 with debt of nearly $80 million.

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Posted On: January 27, 2009

U.S. Supreme Court Protects Sexual Harassment Witness From Retaliation

Vicky Crawford, who testified in her employer’s internal investigation of a sexual harassment charge is protected against retaliation under a federal civil rights law, the Supreme Court ruled in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Tennessee a 9-0 decision. Crawford had been a payroll coordinator for more than 30 years for the public school system in Nashville and Davidson County in Tennessee. In 2002, several female employees complained of sexual harassment by Hughes,the school district's employee relations director. The assistant director of human resources began an investigation and interviewed several employees who worked with Hughes, including Crawford. Crawford told the assistant human resources director that Hughes asked to see her breasts on numerous occasions, grabbed his genitals in front of her and once pulled her head toward his crotch.

The investigation did not result in any disciplinary action against Hughes. A few months after taking part in the investigation, Crawford was suspended and then fired. Two other women who complained about sexual harassment by Hughes also were fired. This constituted retaliation according to the lawsuit.


Supreme Court Justice David Souter, writing for his colleagues, argued that the lower courts erred in ruling that Crawford was not protected because she did not “oppose” Hughes’ harassment, as her colleague who formally filed the charge did. Rather, the courts said Crawford was just answering questions

Souter said Crawford was covered by the law because she had actively opposed the sexually obnoxious behavior by Hughes toward her, a decision that allows her lawsuit to go forward even though she didn't make the initial sexual harassment complaint.

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Posted On: January 26, 2009

$2.4 Million Sexual Harassment Award Upheld on Appeal

A jury in Simi Valley initially awarded James Stevens $18.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a sexual harassment lawsuit in October 2006. But the presiding judge later reduced the damages to $2.4 million. The award was appealed and the California Second District Court of Appeal upheld a jury’s reduced $2.4 million award plus $750,000 in attorney fees to Stevens in the sexual harassment case against the Vons supermarket chain.

Stevens worked for the supermarket chain for 25 years, including 15 years as an inventory clerk, where he proved that a female manager sexually harassed him on numerous occasions. Stevens complained to the company about the sexual harassment, but instead of taking action against the management employee, Vons fired him, which resulted in Stevens filing the sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. Stevens was represented by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

Stevens testified he was subjected to daily sexual harassment by the manager. In addition to making sexual remarks, she once simulated sex with a feather duster.

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Posted On: January 25, 2009

Update: Two Women Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $495,000

A lawsuit reported in this Blog on December 28,2008 has an update. Two women, Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stoud who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the former attorney general agreed to accept $247,500 each, or $495,000 total to settle their sexual harassment lawsuit. As a condition of the settlment both agreed to resign from the Attorney General's office.

Stout and Stankoski filed complaints against a manager hand-picked by former attorney general Marc Dann, alleging sexual harassment. An internal investigation substantiated the complaints and prompted the firing of two employees, the forced resignation of a third and a legislated investigation by the state's inspector general which resulted in the settlement. The two women initially sought more than $400,000 each to settle the lawsuit but all parties believe the settlement is fair and puts to rest a sad chapter at the attorney generals office.

Continue reading " Update: Two Women Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $495,000 " »

Posted On: January 24, 2009

Tacoma Department of Labor & Industries Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $800,000

The state of Washington agreed to pay $800,000 to three women to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Labor and Industries. Two of the women, Linda Bang and Janis Fleming, remain at the office. The third, Mercy Fernandez-Figueroa, left the job because of the stress of the harassment. According to the lawsuit Phillip Scott, a co-worker of the women, and Carter Mitchell, a supervisor, harassed and intimidated the women. In addition their manager, Gail Hughes, retaliated against the women according to the lawsuit. The three women reported their concerns to upper management and then Hughes their manager branded them as troublemakers, took away their job privileges, and criticized job performance despite no change in performance according to the News Tribune.

In the lawsuit the women claim the harassment began with Scott and Mitchell making sexual comments, sexual gestures and giving disparate treatment to them. The lawsuit claims Mitchell made unwanted contact with Fernandez-Figueroa as he would rub his genitalia on her leg during an unwanted hug and dry-humped her chair while she sat in it. Additionally, Fernandez-Figueroa reported an e-mail from an unnamed co-worker denigrating her ethnic background, and when she complained to management was told she had to expect that because she was the office’s token Hispanic--which would constitute racial discrimination.

Continue reading " Tacoma Department of Labor & Industries Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $800,000 " »

Posted On: January 23, 2009

Prior Record Of Supervisor Used As Leverage to Settle Sexual Harassment Case for $325,000

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services agreed to pay an Oxford woman $320,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Dorothy Hawley filed a lawsuit against supervisor James Hobgood at John Umstead Hospital. Hobgood had a prior history of mistreating female workers including a conviction for assaulting Hawley and another female employee in October 2000. In Illinois, if an employer retains an employee with a history of sexually harassing women and exposes women to that person, the employer would have created a hostile work environment a new round of sexual harassment takes place.

According to court documents the evidence showed that Hobgood had been fired from another state facility 22 years earlier. In that case, Hobgood was disciplined for sexual harassment after complaints from female staffers about his behavior. His behavior in that case was so outrageous that his personnel file stated he should not be hired again by the state.

According to the News & Observer Hawley had won $433,000 in damages from the N.C. Industrial Commission, but the state appealed the award. Mediation resulted in the $320,000 settlement. In Illinois mediation is available once a claim is filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Continue reading " Prior Record Of Supervisor Used As Leverage to Settle Sexual Harassment Case for $325,000 " »

Posted On: January 22, 2009

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa Sued For Sexual Harassment

Heather Bickel, 37 who worked as a housekeeper at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, alleges former housekeeping supervisor Milton Cordova assaulted her. Bickel is alleging at least $25,000 in damages in a sexual harassment lawsuit. Bickel is the second woman in two months to file a lawsuit against the resort because of sexual harassment. Former housekeeper Amanda McAllister filed a lawsuit in November, alleging Cordova forcibly groped her as she cleaned a room in September. McAllister's lawsuit also accuses the resort of doing nothing after complaints, a lack of action that allegedly put other housekeepers at risk

According to Bickel's lawsuit she complained to her supervisors and the resort's human resources department after the sexual harassment, but they wouldn't fire him. She claims they took no action and continued to put her at risk. Bickel claims the resort broke its promise of zero tolerance of sexual harassment by refusing to take action after the assault. Bickel also alleges the resort let other workers know she complained about the sexual harassment, which caused her to be subjected to derogatory comments from other employees-thus creating a hostile work environment.

In Illinois a hostile work environment exists when an employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and sexual orientation.

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Posted On: January 21, 2009

House Speaker Accused of Sexual Harassment of State Representative

New Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams denies sexually harassing Representative Susan Lynn. According to the Nashville Tennessean, Speaker Williams had two encounters with Rep. Lynn last year, including one on March 27 in which he allegedly told her she was beautiful and said he would give a week's pay to see her naked. The second incident occured just over a week later in which he allegedly came up behind her, put his arm tightly around her and embraced her, while telling her to have a nice weekend. This type of behavior also creates a hostile work environment.
Rep. Lynn said she was scared that this behavior pattern would repeat itself as she once against felt sexually harassed by the Speaker. According to the Chattanooga Times, “I have never sexually harassed anyone nor have I been reprimanded for any such behavior,” Rep. Williams said in a statement. “Right now my focus continues to be on moving this state forward and getting to the business of governing.”

Another Representative made an accusation against the Speaker the same year. Rep. Maggart said she got in her car and Williams leaned in the window and told her how beautiful she was and “that he appeared to be staring at her breasts,” according to the memo, which has no timestamp on it to verify when it was drafted. The memo was part of an internal investigation of the sexual harassment claims.

Continue reading " House Speaker Accused of Sexual Harassment of State Representative " »

Posted On: January 20, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Film Producer in Chicago

A Illinois Sexual Harassment lawsuit was filed by Jill Sandmire the personal assistant to Emilio Ferrari who is the producer of the film Baby on Board, starring Heather Graham, John Corbett, Jerry O'Connell and Lara Flynn Boyle. According to the lawsuit, Ferrari repeatedly slapped her buttocks, groped her, asked her to massage his shoulders and back and told her she would look really hot if she got breast implants. Sandmire also said Ferrari asked her if she and other employees were at a strip club to obtain a stripper's phone number and asked her to buy condoms.

According to the sexual harassment lawsuit Sandmire claims she repeatedly told Ferrari to stop and that when she asked a production coordinator to transfer her to another department, Ferrari prevented it--thus creating a hostile work environment. Sandmire was fired shortly after and believes it is the result of retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment and for refusing to accept the advances of Ferrari.

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Posted On: January 19, 2009

Illinois Human Rights Act Amendment That Bans Sexual-Orientation and Gender-Identity Discrimination: Three Years Later

The Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") act that bans sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination went into effect three years ago and here is an update on the act. According to the Director of IDHR Rocco Claps, a snapshot of fiscal year ‘09 ( from July ‘08 to today ) , shows there have been 89 sexual-orientation charges and, of those, 11 are related to gender identity, 2 based on bisexual, 67 on homosexualality, 2 on heterosexuality and 3 based on perceived orientation.

In Illinois, the IDHR investigates charges of sexual harassment, as well as sexual-orientation. Known as Public Act 093-1078 the new act makes it is unlawful in Illinois to discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, gender, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, and religion. The other basis of discrimination besides employment include real-estate transactions; public accommodations; sexual harassment in higher education; and financial credit.

Continue reading " Illinois Human Rights Act Amendment That Bans Sexual-Orientation and Gender-Identity Discrimination: Three Years Later " »

Posted On: January 18, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Sheriffs Office Seeking $8 Million

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by four women for a total of $8 million, claiming the office has a culture of sexual harassment in which even ranking officers engage in physical and verbal harassment. Fulton Sheriff Myron Freeman, the Fulton County Georgia Sheriff’s Office and others are named in the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims the women were subjected to actual touching, lewdness and forced inappropriate contact, all items that would constitute a hostile work environment.

In the sexual harassment lawsuit one of the women, a former executive secretary, alleges she tolerated off-color jokes during the three years she worked for the sheriff until a lieutenant made an obscene reference about her performing a sexual act. The lawsuit alleges that most of the harassment took place inside Fulton County’s jail. The former secretary said "working at the Sheriff’s Office is like Sodom and Gomorrah."

In Illinois a new law that went into affect last year allows for also filing a claim of sexual harassment in state court after first filing with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

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Posted On: January 17, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against The University of Pittsburg Medical Center

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by Lindsey Yeager against the University of Pittsburg Medical Center ("UPMC Horizon") claiming gender bias, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation. Yeager was a nurse when an unnamed doctor pressured her to date him in and then to have sex with him. Yeager agreed to have sex because the doctor said her career would suffer if she didn’t, she alleges.

Yeager said she complained about the sexual harassment to her supervisors and tried to break off the relationship, but the doctor assaulted her. She claims the sexual harassment not only continued but got worse and the doctor had her supervisor issue written reprimands and criticize her without justification-which is retaliation. Yeager was fired six months after she claims she began to have sex with the doctor.

UPMC said the relationship with the doctor was consensual, and it was the doctor who tried to end the relationship. UPMC also claims Yeager falsely claimed to be working when in fact she was attending classes in Pittsburg and that she never reported sexual harassment allegations until her job performance was being negatively evaluated.

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Posted On: January 16, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois Based McDonalds USA LLC

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by Crystal Neely, a former employee of McDonald’s alleging the fast-food giant allowed the sexual harassment to occur while she was working as a cashier at the restaurant on Southwest Lost River Road in Stuart Florida. Neely claimed she was hired as a cashier by McDonalds in February 2008 but soon after was subjected to sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from a co-worker. She claims the co-worker grabbed her breasts, tried to kiss her and told her he loved her, according to the lawsuit.

Neely complained about the sexual harassment to management but no action was taken to protect her, she alleges. As a result of her complaint to management a hostile work environment continued to exist until she was terminated in May--which she claims was retaliation for filing the complaint.

Prior to terminating Neely, she was moved to a different McDonald's--and the move hasn't been fully explained. Neely claims the move was the first step in the retaliation process with the final step being her termination.

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Posted On: January 15, 2009

Discrimination Lawsuit Based on Gender, Race, Sex and National Origin Filed Against Nixon Peabody LLP

Lawyer Henry Har filed a multi-count lawsuit against Nixon Peabody LLP in Los Angeles claiming discrimination based on gender, race, sex and national origin. In his lawsuit Har claims his former employer made derogatory comments toward women, homosexuals and minorities. Har claims his co-workers asked him if the office administrator had given him oral sex and made other homophobic comments throughout his employment.

Har who is asian-american claims disparate treatment based on his ethnicity and claims he was treated different that white employees. Disparate treatment bases the claim on whether the claimant was treated different than other employees who are similarly situated. In International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held that disparate treatment occurs when "the employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin."

Har claims he suffered great mental suffering, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma and profound humiliation. He is seeking damages to compensate for his lost earning and benefits, punitive damages for wilful and wanton conduct and other compensatory damages as well as attorney fees.

Posted On: January 14, 2009

Illinois Sexual Harassment Case Settles For $462,500 Against Chicago Dentist

The Chicago office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") had filed a civil lawsuit against dentist James L. Orrington in September 2007, claiming he had discriminated against 18 employees by subjecting them to sexual propositions, comments and improper touching, which amounted to sexual harassment. Orrington agreed to pay $462,500 to settle the lawsuit which claims he violated discrimination laws by sexually harassing workers and by forcing employees who wanted to keep their jobs to submit to indoctrination in the tenets of Scientology.

The lawsuit also claims Orrington violated employee civil-rights law by firing or taking other retaliatory actions against some employees who had complained about his behavior. Retaliation occurs when an employee is fired or has his terms and conditions of work changed as a result of making a formal complaint of discrimination. Additionally, federal law also protects those individuals who testify, assist or participate in an investigation of illegal activity or those who oppose unlawful employment practice.

A result of settling the lawsuit a consent decree was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and calls for Orrington to pay $462,500 to the workers involved and enjoins him from further sexual or religious workplace discrimination. In the consent decree Orrington does not admit any admission of guilt however.

Posted On: January 13, 2009

Illinois Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed by School Principal

A sexual harassment lawsuit by former Robert Frost School Principal Deborah Nuzzi was dismissed by a federal judge in Illinois but Nuzzi plans to file an appeal that would keep her sexual harassment lawsuit against Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 alive. Nuzzi claims school board member Rob Rodewald sexually harassed her and, after she complained of the sexual harassment, the school district retaliated against her.

Illinois U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. McCuskey said the sexual harassment allegations nearly violated court rules, "border on the sanctionable" and declared the retaliation claim "entirely without merit." The lawsuit alleges Rodewald touched Nuzzi on the shoulder on one occasion, then followed her into a hallway to ask "Deb, how are we doing, you and me? Are we OK?

The lawsuit also alleges a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in that the school district paid Nuzzi a lower salary than they paid her male counterparts. Nuzzi contends she was damaged in that she suffered humilation, stress, embarassment and lost wages among other forms of compensatory damages.

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Posted On: January 12, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Former College President

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in federal court against Luna Community College former President Leroy Sanchez alleging he touched Charlene Ortiz-Cordova the former academic advisor, made unwanted sexual gestures, and made inappropriate comments to her over several months. The lawsuit also alleges that Luna failed or refused to take appropriate action to prevent and correct the sexual harassment.

The lawsuit is being filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protects women from discrimination in employment. The lawsuit also alleges the harassment resulted in a hostile work environment for Ortiz-Cordova. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a., statutory caps on damages are imposed for both compensatory and punitive damages. The combined damage caps are based on the number of employees an employer has working for it. For employers who have in excess of 500 workers $300,000 is the statutory cap.

According to the lawsuit Ortiz-Cordova complained repeatedly about the unwanted harassment to her immediate supervisors but only after a year passed did one of them alert the college’s human-resources department of her complaints. Mr. Sanchez was told to avoid contacting Ms. Ortiz-Cordova, the suit alleges, but he was never disciplined and nothing further was done about the matter

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Posted On: January 11, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settled For $325,000

A sexual harassment lawsuit has been settled between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and defendants AmerTac Holding and American Tack & Hardware but the settlement involves no admission of guilt by the companies. The suit was filed by the EEOC in 2003 on behalf of 13 women and claimed that John Di Stefano, vice president of information technology at AmerTac, exposed female workers to pornographic images on his computer on a daily basis and called them derogatory names.

The lawsuit was initially filed by a pair of female employees after their claims of sexual harassment underwent a mandatory review by the EEOC, which enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws. According to the lawsuit Di Stefano and another company executive allegedly retaliated against the women for complaining about the sexual harassment. The EEOC reviewed the case and were shocked by what was presented to them.

The settlement between the EEOC and defendants AmerTac Holding and American Tack & Hardware involves no admission of guilt by the companies, but requires them to provide anti-discrimination training and information to employees on sexual harassment in addition to the monetary settlement of $325,000.

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Posted On: January 10, 2009

Sexual Harassment Accusation Against Top Law Enforcement Official

A sexual harassment, retaliation and hostile work environment complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision ("EEOC") and Texas Workforce Commission ("TWC") against Bill Fitzgerald the boss of Michelle Garza, a probation officer. The Illinois Department of Human Rights serves the same function as the TWC.

Prior to filing her sexual harassment complaint, Garza had been with the probation department for nearly 20 years. In her sexual harassment complaint she claims to be an excellent employee but was recently written up for official misconduct. In her write-up she's accused of speaking too loudly on the phone with her ex-husband and she believes the write-up was done in retaliation for filing complaints of sexual discrimination.

According to the complaint while a group of co-workers were out at a local restaurant,Chris Madrid's, Fitzgerald commented on Garza's open toe sandals, began rubbing her feet and made inappropriate comments like "you know what I like even better than breasts? Feet." He also allegedly said that short pretty hispanic women like Garza turn him on. Garza claims the comments and actions of Fitzgerald left her in fear and stressed out. This is the basis for her hostile work environment claim.

Garza is seeking $200,000 in damages and continues to work as a probation officer although she is close to meeting the requirements for retirement.

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Posted On: January 9, 2009

Sexual Harassment Issue Asked To Be Decided By Supreme Court

A sexual harassment issue may soon be decided by the United States Supreme Court in Dawn V. Martin v. Howard University, et al., and the decision, if the Court decides to hear the case, will have serious implications for sexual harassment cases in Illinois. The specific issue raised is whether someone can make a sexual harassment claim against the employer under federal-worker protections if the harasser is not an employee. In this particular case an attorney Dawn Martin was stalked by a homeless man while she was working as a law professor at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Martin brought the sexual harassment issues to the attention of school officals and less than a month after she first reported the stalking her teaching contract was not renewed--which Martin claims was retaliation. Martin sued the university in federal court for failure to prevent sexual harassment, hostile work environment and wrongful termination. A federal jury concluded in April 2006 that Harrison's (the homeless man) actions created a "hostile work environment" and that the university failed to take adequate actions to end the workplace harassment. However the jury returned a verdict in favor of the university on the basis that the case did not qualify as sexual harassment, which would have prohibited the employer from retaliating against the employee for reporting the event.

The case appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia which declined to question the jury's conclusion stating " the jury reasonably may have concluded that Harrison's stalking was attributable to his misidentification of Ms. Martin as his wife, not bad behavior based on Ms. Martin's gender." Ms. Martin will now ask to have her case heard by the United States Supreme Court.

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Posted On: January 9, 2009

Sexual Harassment Claims Against Georgetown Mayor

Sexual Harassment allegations were made by Sabrina Morris, the head of the Georgetown South Carolina's Building and Planning Department, against Mayor Wilson. Morris claims the mayor told her to perform a pole dance on the top of a new bar Beef O'Brady's that was being opened in town. Morris also claims Wilson touched her inappropriately which would also constitute sexual harassment.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome. In determining whether harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile environment, the harasser's conduct should be evaluated from the objective standpoint of a "reasonable person

In Fiscal Year 2007, EEOC received 12,510 charges of sexual harassment and payouts totaled almost $50 million to employees who were victims of sexual harassment.

Posted On: January 8, 2009

Sexual Harassment Of Female Police Officer Settled for $105,000.

Gender discrimination and a hostile work environment were alleged by Sgt. Valerie Scharfe who claims inequitable treatment as Hasting Minnesota's first female police officer. Scharfe will receive $105,000 and her attorney $25,000 after reaching a settlement with the city over alleged workplace harassment involving sexual harassment.

Although a sexual harassment lawsuit was never filed by Scharfe, the city wished to settle the case to avoid the risk of a long drawn out legal battle which could cost the city a large amount in legal fees, the potential for a large verdict against it and the bad publicity a lawsuit may bring. Both parties utilized mediation to help reach the settlement.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "EEOC" the advantages of mediation are:
Fair and Neutral
Parties not the mediator have an equal say in the process and decide settlement terms. Saves Time and Money
Mediation occurs early in the process so legal fees are minimal.

Continue reading " Sexual Harassment Of Female Police Officer Settled for $105,000. " »

Posted On: January 7, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against American Apparel

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against American Apparel and its CEO Dov Charney by Mary Nelson who is one of three women who filed the sexual harassment lawsuit. In a recent deposition Charney claims he frequently drops his pants to show people his new product.

Nelson and the two other women claim the boss shocked and disgusted them with dirty talk and gestures, creating a hostile work environment. Nelson claims that in over a year and a half her boss made her work life miserable with unwelcome sexual comments and suggestive signals. She also claims retaliation as she was dismissed after she complained about the offensive conduct.

In his depostion Charney claims he called women sluts at work and that for months at a time he would have just underwear on while at work. At one point Charney even posted a video of himself in underwear on the company website but has since taken it down. Charney also claims that workers can have sex at work at long as they pick a private place where no one can see them. Former employees claim Charney was constantly talking about sex, talking about his own genitalia, talking about other people’s genitalia.

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Posted On: January 6, 2009

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Lawsuit Against Mayor May Be Dismissed

A sexual harassment and discrimination suit filed by a former city employee Cynthia Rogers against the City of Elizabethtown and Mayor David Willmoth may be dismissed by a Judge in the U.S. District Court in Louisville. She claims that former Public Works Superintendent Bill Owen sexually harassed her from 2003 to 2004 and sexually discriminated against her from 2003 to 2007.

In the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit Rogers claims her supervisor acted under color of state law, deliberately and consciously engaged in adverse actions and retaliation against her which caused her to suffer injury that would likely chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing to report other acts of sexual harassment or retaliation. She also claims the mayor’s actions violated her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, according to The News-Enterprise.

The city and mayor filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit claiming Rogers was terminated for excessive absenteeism, which included using 900.25 hours of leave time between 2005 and 2007, frequently being late, and failing to appear without telling a supervisor. The city also claims that Rogers was wearing a City of Elizabethtown shirt, was intoxicated in a local restaurant at lunchtime and was warned about the incident and absenteeism.

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Posted On: January 5, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Warren County Sheriffs Department

A sexual harassment and discriminatory promotion lawsuit alleging $15 million in damages was filed against former Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department by two veteran female correctional officers, Michelle LeBarron and Cynthia VanDenburgh. The complaint alleges they were discriminated against due to their sex and that they were subjected to sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct by Sheriff Cleveland and the county.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Albany last May after first filing a complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. Title VII also applies to private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations.

Here are United States Supreme Court cases that provide more information about Title VII.

Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971)
In a race discrimination case, the Supreme Court used “disparate impact” theory to analyze employment discrimination under Title VII.

Continue reading " Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Warren County Sheriffs Department " »

Posted On: January 4, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit By Female Firefighter Settled for $150,000

A sexual Harassment lawsuit filed by female firefighter Stacy Conaway who claims she was sexually harassed by former Assistant Chief John Wagner and that department officials retaliated when the harassment was reported settled for $150,000.

Conaway also claims retaliation as a result of the reporting of the sexual harassment. Retaliation occurs when an adverse action is taken to try to keep someone from opposing a discriminatory practice, or from participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. The day after Wagner’s resignation, Conaway found a dent that looked like it was caused by a firefighters boot in her Chevrolet Tahoe that was parked in the Fire Department’s lot. Soon after reporting the harassment she received less-desirable job assignments--such as being moved from a firefighting position to administrative staff. This is a form of retaliation.

Soon after Conaway began work, she said that Wagner gave her unwanted gifts, including a negligee, a vibrator and an X-rated movie which she threw away. After not first reporting the incident two department captains told Conaway that she should report Wagner’s behavior, but Conaway said she was reluctant to do so because of possible negative consequences.

Then Wagner compared her breasts to the breasts of a woman taking the department’s physical agility test, and said the applicant must have used Conaway’s doctor--Conaway had breast augmentation surgery, and Wagner was aware of it. Conaway’s supervisor became aware of Wagner’s comments and reported them to city officials.

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Posted On: January 3, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Massachusetts Tax Collector

A sexual harassment and retaliation claim was filed by Deputy Tax Collector Jacquelynne Williams against the city of Holyoke Massachusetts, claiming she was terminated in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment accusation against Tax Collector Robert F. Kane. The retaliation claim was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which is analogous to the Illinois Department of Human Rights, where a Illinois Sexual Harassment lawyer would file a similar claim in Illinois.

According to the sexual harassment and retaliation claims Ms. Williams and two other women were sexually harassed but it was Ms. Williams who was the one terminated not her harassor Robert Kane. In Massachusettes as in Illinois many times when a woman files a sexual harassment complaint or complains about sexual harassment she is retaliated against and ultimately her employment is terminated.

According to the newspaper the Republican in her complaint Ms. Williams claimed that Mr. Kane sent her sexually harassing e-mails and made sexual or demeaning verbal comments to her on several occasions in 2006 and 2007 which included demeaning remarks about co-workers, sexually suggestive e-mails, verbal descriptions of suggestive dreams, and comments about other employees.

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Posted On: January 2, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed by Firefighter

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by firefighter Paulette Rork, 38, of Englewood in the Lee County Flordia Court system alleging the “intentional infliction of emotional distress and sexual harassment.” In Illinois attorneys can file sexual harassment lawsuits for similar actions.

Rork was employed by the Boca Grande Fire Department from 2000 until being “constructively discharged” in September of 2007. He first filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") that was dismissed in February. The file was closed because the commission was unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes. In Illinois just as in other states, the dismissal of a charge by the EEOC does not mean the case is necessarily over.

Rork is seeking $15,000 in lost wages, insurance and attorney’s fees as well as money for unspecified damages, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

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Posted On: January 1, 2009

Sexual Harassment Claim by Sanitation Worker Against Atlantic City

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by the city's only female truck driver for the sanitation department. In the lawsuit Lisa Fundberg-Carr, a truck dirver for Atlantic City since February 2006, claims she was sexually harassed by her supervisor Melvin Jones, whom she accuses of sending her obscene photos and making lewd comments and gestures. She also claims he pinned her up against the wall and tried to put his tongue down her throat.

In her lawsuit Fundberg-Carr alleges sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and a hostile work environment, and alleges Atlantic City failed to enforce policies relating to sexual harassment complaints in the work place. she reported the incident to Barbara Camper, the city's equal opportunity employment officer, but no action was taken against Jones. Additionally, in May 2006, Fundberg-Carr claims, Brian Williams her co-worker at the time made comments such as how does this feel between your legs while in training with her and that he sent her via her cell phone obscene photos of himself. While her complaint was pending Williams continued to harass her, calling her bitch among other names.

Fundberg-Carr reported the incident but alleges nothing was done in response to her complaint--other than to transfer her to a sweeper truck which was not within her certification. This is a form of retaliation, as retaliation occurs when an employee reports sexual harassment and then has a negative job action as a result of reporting the harassment.


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