Update: Muskegon County Michigan Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $120,000
In a case first reported in this Blog in December 2008, Muskegon County has agreed to pay $120,000 to settle allegations that it failed to protect court employees from sexual harassment. Eugene Beene, the man who sexually harassed the women served a jail sentence for fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct.
The lawsuit was filed in December 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan and alleged that Muskegon County violated Title VII by failing to take adequate remedial measures to remedy ongoing sexually harassing behavior perpetrated by the former employee's coworker--Beene. The woman claimed the creation of a hostile work environment.
"The Department of Justice commends Muskegon County for working cooperatively to resolve this case without protracted litigation, and for taking positive steps to provide a workplace free of harassment for its employees," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
According to the terms of the consent decree, Muskegon County will pay $120,000 in damages to the former female employee on whose behalf the United States filed the lawsuit.
In addition, Muskegon County will modify its policies and procedures to provide clearer guidance to supervisors and employees regarding the handling and reporting of sexual harassment. Muskegon County also will provide equal employment opportunity training to all supervisory employees within the county's circuit and district courts, where the conduct outlined in the underlying facts of the lawsuit took place. Muskegon County has advised the Justice Department that it has already begun implementing some of these corrective measures.