Posts Tagged ‘Sexual Harassment Complaints’
Miami, FL- Sexual harassment and discrimination are toxic to a workplace it effects employee morale and can create long-term emotional issues for the victim. This inappropriate behavior is also comes at a great cost to employer especially if they are subjected to a lawsuit. Even though on any given day you can read about new harassment allegations, lawsuits and settlements, men and women report harassment much less than people think.
Many people would like to believe that they wouldn’t put up with any type of harassment at work, but the reality is that many incidents go unreported.
According to NBC/Washington Post survey from 2011 found that six out of ten women admitted to being subjected to some form of sexual harassment whether it is inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, or leering at least once in their working lives, yet the EEOC only receives on average 30,000 complaints of sexual harassment each year.
This means that many people are just letting the harassment pass instead of reporting the offender. A study conducted last year by a Maya Risman law firm of New York wanted to find out why people refuse to report harassment.
According to the ABC/Washington Post survey, 29 percent of the respondents felt the harassment was too insignificant to report. No incident of harassment is too insignificant to report to supervisors, but if the victim is seeking monetary damages, they must prove the harassment was repeated and prevalent.
The Risman firm study found that after surveying 9,000 professional women that although 92 percent of the respondents had been subjected to sexual harassment many of the victims were are afraid to report sexual harassment because they know or knew someone who has been fired or forced to quit after reporting an incident, so many of these victims don’t report because they cannot afford to lose their jobs. Although sexual harassment complaints by men have grown, male employees often refuse to report harassment, only 16 percent of the complaints the EEOC receives come from men.
Seventy five of Risman’s respondents admitted they would report harassment because they believe nothing would be done to stop the harassment. This is also true since the majority harassment cases allege that an employer failed to protect their employees from the harassing behavior and create a hostile work environment.
“A victim may minimize what’s happening to them, they may have very legitimate concerns about losing their job, perhaps they feel what’s the use of reporting it because ever other woman here is having the same experience,” said Jennifer Marsh of the Rape, Abuse and Iincest Network.
Employees do often encounter speculation when they report sexual harassment. Employers sometimes think allegations are frivolous and think that the complainant is incapable or taking a joke or are too sensitive.
Employers make a huge mistake in not following up on sexual harassment allegations by conducting an investigation and disciplining the harasser. Not only do they subject their employees to an antagonistic work environment, but they also face civil lawsuits which can become very costly.
According to the Jackson Clarion Register, attorneys along with Magistrate Michael T. Parker negotiated behind closed doors for several hours on Monday before they reached an agreement.
In February of last year Kenya Burks who worked as Winfield’s chief of staff filed a lawsuit accusing the Mayor of sexually harassing her after they ended a consensual intimate relationship, and subjected her to a hostile work environment, the Clarion Register reported.
Winfield denied he and Burks had a relationship.
Burks named him and the city of Vicksburg in the suit initially asking for $1.5 million in damages, but attorneys would not say what the final settlement was.
Winfield is facing another legal battle where he has been accused of taking bribes for city contracts.
So why do municipalities and businesses frequently settle sexual harassment cases out of court?
Thousands of sexual harassment complaints are filed each year and a large majority of those complaints result in lawsuits. But municipalities and businesses would prefer to settle these cases out of court.
When Human Resources of any company receive a complaint of sexual harassment they have a responsibility to investigate any allegations regardless of how trivial they may seem. If the incident is a onetime thing such as an off-collar joke, a simple reprimand can suffice and end the problem there.
But too often sexual harassment isn’t just a onetime event; the behavior can be more pervasive and the sexual comments and innuendos can last for days, months even years. It can be particularly toxic to the work environment when a superior offers promotions and other benefits in exchange for sex.
Any allegation has to be investigated and Human Resources will investigate. If the allegations ring true then the offending employee can be fired, but this may not keep the victim to
When faced with a sexual harassment suit, some businesses choice to settle even if the allegations are not solid, or they discover the offender may actually be innocent of harassment. It leaves many to wonder why they would settle.
A sexual harassment lawsuit can be costly. Many companies would prefer to settle simply because it will save them tens of thousands to hundreds of thousand dollars in legal fees and if a court sides on the victim’s behalf they will have to pay out even more. Though a sexual harassment settlement can cost the company thousands to millions, it’s preferable over being engaged in a lengthy court battle, which is costly regardless of whether the court sides with the plaintiff.
There is another cost to sexual harassment and that is to the businesses reputation. A publicized sexual harassment case can give the company a bad name and settling the case whether they believe the accuser or not will help them preserve their good reputation.
Miami, FL-In late January, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released their 2012 fiscal year report showing that the office received close 100,000 complaints of job discrimination throughout the year.
The EEOC fiscal year runs from October 1st to September 30th, during that time the agency received 37,836 complaints of retaliation, 33,512 allegations or racial discrimination and 30,056 sexual discrimination complaints from employees in the private sector, according to the EEOC report.
Of the sexual discrimination complaints the majority were allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, although pregnancy also made up a large number of those complaints.
While there is still a great deal of workplace discrimination complaints, there was actually a 10 percent decrease in their pending complaints over 2011, the first decrease since 2002.
Even though complaints decreased, the EEOC recovered $365.4 million in claims from private industry along with state and local governments, an increase on administrative judgments over previous years. An additional $36.2 million was recovered for victims of workplace discrimination through conciliation and settlements. EEOC attorneys recovered $44.2 million through lawsuits.
These figures however only represent judgments and settlements received through EECO litigation. In many cases of sexual harassment and other workplace discrimination are settled by employment attorneys in the private sector, because they are able to win larger monetary settlements.
Although the EEOC received a large number of sexual harassment complaints, a large number men and women fail to report this misconduct. According to Cornell Law Review article entitled “Exacerbating the Exasperated: Title VII Liability of Employers for Sexual Harassment,” between 40 to 90 percent of women admit to encountering sexual harassment in their working lives. That is an alarming statistic and shows that many women simply ignore the behavior instead of reporting it; if they did the EEOC would have many more cases on their books. Men are also frequently harassed, though to a lesser degree than women, which they refuse to report.
If the problem is so prevalent, why do so many refuse to report it or ignore the behavior altogether? While there are numerous reasons not to report sexual harassment, the primary reason is that they fear for their jobs. Just as harassment is common, so is retaliation. And, too often the
The majority of harassers are the employees’ direct supervisors. The harassment victim fears that if they report the behavior, they will face a number of retaliations; they could be fired, denied raises or promotions, or be denied vacation and days off requests. They could also be subjected to other harassing behaviors that create a hostile working environment.
Another reason sexual harassment victims fail to report the misconduct is because they don’t believe their employer will take the allegations seriously or appropriately punish their harasser. These are reasonable fears since many feel employees may be too sensitive to inappropriate comments or touching, and the harassers often play down their actions by saying they were just joking or having fun. In some instances a verbal reprimand is enough to stop sexual harassment, but for some offenders this simply isn’t enough and they continue to harass.
Two Different Police Departments Forced to Address Sexual Harassment Allegations; Is Harassment a Serious Problem in Law Enforcement?December 21st, 2012 Posted in Sexual Harassment News
Atlanta, GA- Two different police agencies, one in Missouri and North Carolina, are being forced to address sexual harassment complaints and allegations of retaliation. Could the stress of being in law enforcement cause people to engage in sexual misconduct or is it just an issue of too much power?
In Urbana, Missouri, two veteran officers were fired after allegations of sexual abuse between them arose. Officers Roxy Flippin and Jason Owens had a contentious relationship from the beginning but things reached a head when Flippin allegedly threatened Owens and both were suspended with pay, according to the KSRP 33, local ABC affiliate.
In a closed Alderman meeting, the board decided to fire Flippin because of the threat and announced Owens would get a full-time position. After the meeting opened Filppin then told the board she was repeatedly sexually harassed by Owens.
Owens was then fired, and now the department must investigate Flippin’s allegations.
Flippin refused to grant an interview to KSRP but in a statement her attorney said, “There was a lot of discrimination based on sex and there was an assault on Roxy that was overlooked by the Mayor and Chief of Police.”
In a recent incident on North Carolina, a female Catawba County sheriff’s deputy alleged that she was sexually harassed by a superior officer and Sheriff Coy Reed fired her after reporting the misconduct.
According to the Hickory Record, Deputy Stacy Minor filed a federal lawsuit last week, alleging Lieutenant Joseph Sigmon sexually harassed her for over a year. The lawsuit says that Reed fired her for complaining and refusing Sigmon’s sexual advances. The suit also names the County as defendant because they refused to address the complaints.
The lawsuit lists a number of salacious comments and actions by Sigmon. In one incident Sigmon told her “I bet you are finger licking good, and texted her “how are the twins (referring to her breasts),” among other accusations.
Also in January of 2011, Sigmon was sitting in the driveway of her home without invitation. When she told Reed, Sigmon admitted to it, but was not disciplined.
Reed says she never told Sigmon to stop the harassment. Minor’s lawsuit admits she never told Sigmon “no,” but that was because she feared for her job.
After she became pregnant she was transferred to detention center, and was eventually fired on November 12th.
Sexual harassment in police ranks are fairly common, but it is it a serious problem? There have been no studies to show that it is a pervasive problem exclusive to law enforcement, but on this site we frequently report on incidents involving law enforcement agencies nationwide.
The real issue at play in sexual harassment is power. The majority of sexual harassment cases involve harassment of a subordinate by a superior. Bosses often have the advantage because they know employees are often afraid to report incidents for fear of being fired, and that the majority of incidents will go unreported.
Power gives some people the impression they can abuse others without the threat of recourse. Even the threat of a lawsuit is not enough to discourage harassment and retaliation in the workplace.
Nearly half of women and a smaller percentage of men admit they have been sexually harassed at least once during their working lives, but failed to report those incidents. And when they do report they their allegations, superiors ignore or dismiss allegations as frivolous.
Adequate sexual harassment training is one solution, but is not a cure for the pervasiveness of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. So what can we do to end this problem?
Albany, NY- After news broke that the state paid $103,000 in secret settlement to quell sexual harassment complaints against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the state is facing intense scrutiny over how much they have paid out to settle similar complaints, which has topped the $5 M mark.
Unlike the Lopez case, documents released by State Attorney General’s office showed that these payouts did not include clauses that the agreements are kept confidential. AG Eric Schneiderman pointed out that all of the harassment cases worked their way through the court system.
The documents, released Thursday, showed that in many of $5 million pay outs for 15 cases occurred between 2009 and 2011, when Governor Andrew Cuomo served as the Attorney General.
The largest settlement, $1.4 million was paid to an employee of the state prison sentence. The woman in this case filed her suit in 2000, but it wasn’t settled until 2009. But the majority of the settlements only ranged in the hundreds of thousands.
In another disclosed case, the state paid a former inmate $330,000, after they accused a prison guard of sexual assault.
All the $5 million came from taxpayer dollars and emphasizes the need to be more pro-active in preventing sexual harassment in state agencies.
Notorious attorney Gloria Allred weighed in on the scandal, “The $5 million paid by the state is indicative of how pervasive sexual harassment is in the state’s workplace and demonstrates the state’s failure to strictly enforce the law, which exists for the protection of their employees. The state should have a zero tolerance policy for any state employee who creates or permits the existence of a sexually hostile work environment.”
In the majority of harassment cases, sexual harassment attorneys are effective at winning large dollar cases, especially when an employer fails to stop the misconduct or fires an employee for lodging a complaint.
Chicago, IL- A gay Sherriff’s Deputy for Cook County is suing his employer because he alleges they did nothing to stop his co-workers from harassing him over his sexual orientation, according to CBS Chicago.
David Nardi began working for the department in 1999, and he claims that for the entirety of his career, other officers and a supervising sergeant sexually harassed him for being gay.
In the suit, Nardi states that officers would make lewd noises in presence, whistle at him along with using homophobic slurs. In one incident a fellow officer talked about his orientation in front prisoners, putting his safety in jeopardy. His peers would also refuse to offer him assistance with duties simply because he was gay.
One sergeant allegedly “tormented” him with a sign that read “I am Gay.” One morning as the officers were gathered for their morning roll call, officers began singing “having a gay old time” when Nardi entered the room.
According to the suit, Nardi told a supervisor, who was allegedly complicit, about the harassment, but he refused to forward the complaint to the Office of Professional Responsibility for an investigation. With the lack of action, Nardi filed a discrimination complaint with Illinois Department of Human Rights. After filing the complaint, he was given undesirable assignments which he believes is a form of retaliation.
This among the many sexual harassment complaints levied against law enforcement agencies across the country.
In the wake of unaddressed sexual harassment, the objects of this behavior have no choice other than to hire a sexual harassment attorney to make their employers identify and address the pervasive problem, along with compensating them for their emotional distress.
When people think of sexual harassment, an image of a helpless female and menacing male figure come to mind. However, while the majority of sexual harassment cases do involve women as victims and men as assailants, men can also be the targets of unwanted sexual conduct.
Although not as common, men can be victimized by other men or even by women. Younger men especially, including boys in school, have often been targeted by classmates, teachers or even religious figures and have been subjected to sexual behavior without their consent.
Now more than ever, sexual harassment awareness is necessary to ensure people protect themselves and are able to report incidents quickly and have them taken care of. Men are often more reluctant to come forward with sexual harassment complaints out of embarrassment, but it is important for all victims to know that doing nothing about the situation will only make matters worse.
If the victim does not complain to an authority figure, the harassment is almost certainly going to continue or get worse. It is imperative that all victims or witnesses to the incidents come forward so the offender can be brought to justice and so they do not claim another victim.
Anyone who has been targeted by a sexual predator should contact a sexual harassment lawyer immediately to file a claim. Too many times, authorities or human resource departments do not handle sexual harassment matters successfully. Sexual harassment attorneys make it their mission to fight for victims’ rights and will stop at nothing to ensure the harasser is held accountable for their actions.
Sexual harassment lawyers also see to it victims obtain compensation for their pain and suffering, which could total millions of dollars. So don’t wait another moment and seek legal help right now to protect your rights.
SIOUX CITY – Following a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by two former employees, Siouxland Mental Health Center has agreed to settle.
Serena Garvin and Katherine Murphy claim they were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by Kim Fischer-Culver, who they allege would repeatedly ask them to engage in sexual activities with her.
In addition, the alleged victims claim they were retaliated against after bring forth their complaints of Fischer-Culver. They added that their job duties changed and were treated differently by fellow employees.
Murphy resigned in June 2010 after having her work hours drastically reduced while Garvin was terminated in October.
Garvin and Murphy also sued Siouxland Mental Health executive director Jim Rixner, who they claim did not address their sexual harassment complaints sufficiently.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the parties have agreed that the case has been settled.
Sexual harassment can lead to irreparable damage, regardless of whether the incidents involve mild lewd jokes or serious physical attacks. These types of unwanted behaviors can lead a victim to feel insecure and afraid, damaging their trust forever.
For these reasons, anyone who has been a victim of or a witness to sexual harassment should speak to a sexual harassment lawyer right away to file a case. Sexual harassment lawyers work diligently to defend victims’ rights and ensure that the perpetrator is stopped and held accountable for their actions.
No matter what type of harassment you have been experiencing, it is important for you to know that you are not alone and that the offender can be stopped. Contact an acclaimed sexual harassment attorney today to file a claim and defend your right to a safe and discrimination-free workplace.