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Updates on Sexual Harassment

Updates on Sexual Harassment - Archives


This section contains brief updates of recent sexual harassment complaints, suits, settlements, awards, surveys and studies. The information is gathered from many places and is intended to give an overview of the most current events. It is not meant to provide an exhaustive list of all the news.

  • Court Rules Case Was Workplace Dispute, Not Harassment: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that a male security guard's claims of male co-workers' sexual harassment was really no more than an "extended and rancorous workplace dispute." The guard's co-workers allegedly slashed his tires, grabbed their crotches and made kissing sounds and obscene comments to him. When he complained to his supervisors, the behavior did not stop, so he sued the company and its subcontractor for violations of Title VII and District of Columbia law. The court granted summary judgment to the employers. The appeals court ruled that the guard failed to establish that the harassment he complained of was based on sex, and cited the U.S. Supreme Court case Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Svcs. Inc. 3/22/02 Full story in the March Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Judge Denies Being Told to Hire Only Male Staff: According to the Boston Globe, the attorney for a New Bedford Superior Court judge said his client denies a report that the judge has been ordered to hire only male staff because of complaints of harassment of women. The attorney, also a former judge, who represents the accused judge, said, "He says it is categorically false that he has been forbidden from using female clerks." He said the judge was not aware of any harassment complaints against him. However, the Boston Herald reported earlier that a female former law clerk had complained to judiciary officials about being harassed, but she never filed a formal complaint. 3/13/02 Full story in the March Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Former Seattle Officer Claims Harassment: According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a former Seattle Police Department officer filed suit in federal court alleging that she was subjected to chronic sexual harassment from her supervisor and two fellow officers, and that the department tried to force her out when she formally complained. The woman claims in her suit that during her two years on the force her supervisor "constantly asked me about my sex life," touched and humiliated her, and threatened to fire her when she rebuffed him. 3/08/02 Full story in the March Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • New Survey on Numbers of Harassed: A national survey by the Employment Law Alliance released February 5 shows that 21 percent of women and 7 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment at work. Stephen Hirschfeld of the ELA said the number reporting sexual harassment is low considering the amount of sexual harassment litigation and the number of claims filed with government agencies. "These results indicate that the American employer is doing a much better job of practicing prevention in the workplace," Hirschfeld said. "While we would agree that one case is one case too many, it's very significant that 85 percent of the respondents said they've not been sexually harassed at work." 2/27/02 Full story in The Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Tenth Circuit Helps Define Pervasive: The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in a claim brought by three Hispanic house painters who worked for a construction company for three weeks before being fired. The court found that a certain number of comments over a specific period of time was not necessary in determining that the harassment was "pervasive." 2/22/02 Full story in The Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Eleven-Year Veteran Claims Harassment: A Las Vegas police officer told the jury in her trial that she will be scarred forever by the sexual harassment she endured while working for the Metropolitan Police Department. "This whole system turned on me, and I don't understand it," the female officer said. She was one of the first witnesses to testify during the start of her trail in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leavitt. She filed a federal lawsuit against the police department in May 1999. The woman's lawsuit centered on a series of events that took place in the summer of 1995, several months after she joined a squad supervised by a sergeant. 2/14/02

  • Complaints About Security Screening at Airports: A union representing about 50,000 flight attendants said that it had been waiting almost a month for a federal response to its complaint that female flight attendants had recently been "fondled and groped by male security guards" at airports. The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents flight attendants at 26 domestic airlines, sent a letter to Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, alleging "abusive behavior" by some airport security guards. The letter said some of the guards seem to be singling out flight crews for "extensive searches" while allowing other passengers to pass security gates "without a second glance." There have been similar complaints by some female business and leisure passengers, who said they felt they had been inappropriately manhandled or sexually groped by some male guards at airports. 2/8/02 Full story in The Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Canadian Court Ruling Bristles with Outrage & Scorn: The Ontario Court of Appeals ruled that managers who make sexual advances to their employees are courting disaster, whether or not the acts take place outside the workplace and appear to be mutual. The ruling, which according to the Toronto Globe and Mail, "bristled with outrage and scorn for the extensive findings of a lower court judge," said that the Consumers' Association of Canada was justified in dismissing its executive director. "The respondent used his position as executive director of the CAC to engage in a course of sexually harassing conduct towards the female employees," the court said. One expert in employment law said the judgement sends a very clear message that employers must watch their workplaces closely for sexual harassment. "This is a very strong message to every employer that if you don't have one, it is time to get a sexual harassment policy in place," he said. "If you have issues of promiscuity in the workplace, you've got to take them seriously, investigate and take action where appropriate." 1/30/02

  • Harassment Suit Cost $72,000: The Hamilton Inn in Sioux City, Iowa must pay more than $72,000 to a woman who sued for sexual harassment. The judge ordered the inn to pay Misty Chingren $65,000 in damages, $7,000 in attorney's fees and $775 in other expenses. Chingren said the front desk manager subjected her to a sexually hostile work environment because of sexually explicit language and conversations with co-workers and hotel guests. 1/22/02

  • Wal-Mart Offers Gift Certificate: A woman who claims an employee fondled her 10-year-old daughter in the store is suing Wal-Mart. In her suit, the woman says that the company should have known the man, who is also named in the suit, was a convicted sex offender. According to the suit, when the woman and her daughter returned to the store to complain about the alleged assault, Wal-Mart gave the woman a $25 gift certificate. 1/16/02

  • Mistrial Declared in Harassment Case: A federal judge in Chicago declared a mistrial in the sexual harassment case of a forest preserve police officer, after a juror admitted hearing a morning news report of a second jury's $3 million verdict in the same case. The mistrial means another trial might be necessary unless the Forest Preserve District decides to settle. The mistrial does not affect the $3 million judgement. 1/8/02 Full story in the January Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

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