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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.

  • Woman Says Amex Ignored Complaint: A Queens, New York woman who says she was the first black female trader at the American Stock Exchange filed a lawsuit claming that the exchange did nothing when she complained of sexual harassment. The woman claims a male trader blew in her ear, made lewd jokes and sexual advances on numerous occasions beginning in March 2000, only a year after she started at the exchange. She says that when she complained to the Amex's management, she was told that "nothing could be done to help because the floor resembled "Peyton Place," a reference to the 1960s television soap opera famous for its sex scandals." The woman's attorney, Anthony Carabba Jr., said the suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Queens. Am Amex spokeswoman said, "The American Stock Exchange takes these matters very seriously and has conducted a thorough investigation. This matter will now go to a disciplinary panel." She estimated that it would take a few weeks to review the complaint. The Amex sets rules, including policies on sexual harassment, that its member firms are expected to follow. The panel reviews claims of violations and makes decisions if a penalty, such as a fine, should be imposed. 10/16/02 Full story in the September Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • No End to Their Woes: According to Tom Masland and Miriam Mahlow, writing in Newsweek, more than a year ago, officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees agency watched as women in Zimbabwe camp called Tongogara live daily life: "girls kissing and cuddling with aid workers in order to be allowed to go to school." The scene was a red flag, but there was no investigation conducted. Then this last summer, refugees from the same camp complained to he UNHCH about sexual harassment. The refugees got no reply to their complaints. Finally an intern at Tongogara alerted the International Catholic Migration Commission, which has a contract to run the camp. A top official then flew in, and this month the ICMC fired its country director and camp manager. 10/7/02 Full story in the September Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Harassment Suit in US Gets India's Attention: A sexual harassment suit was recently filed in the United States against a top executive of a leading Indian software producer. According to experts in India, the suit is forcing many Indian software companies, many of which have a large number of Indian employees working in the U.S., to focus on their workplace policies and procedures. About two-thirds of Indian's $7.54 billion of export revenue comes from the United States, where sexual harassment is treated far more seriously than in India. 9/30/02 Full story in the September Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Boorish Behavior But Not Harassment: In reversing a jury award of $1 million, the Eighth Circuit said that the evidence presented at trial illustrates that the woman was upset and embarrassed by the man's advances and his "boorish" behavior, but that she "failed to show that these occurrances in the aggregate were so severe and extreme that a reasonable person would find that the terms and conditions of her employment had been altered." The court added that to "clear the high threshold of actionable harm," the woman needed to prove her workplace was "permeated" with discrimination and intimidation, something she failed to do. 9/20/02 Full story in the September Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Ignorance Is No Defense for Mom Car Dealership Owner: A federal judge in Illinois ruled that a company owner's ignorance of her son's alleged workplace misconduct should not prevent two female employees from proceeding with their sexual harassment claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The woman's son was also the sales manager of the auto dealership. The two female employees complained to their supervisor, who was accountable to the owner, that they were exposed to continuous sexual harassment by her son. According to the women, the alleged harassment consisted of inappropriate touching; offensive comments, sometimes in front of co-workers; and exposure to Internet pornography. 9/3/02 Full story in the August Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Wal-Mart Fined for Firing Dating Employees: The state human rights commission in Louisville, Kentucky ordered Wal-Mart to pay $40,000 to two people who claimed the discount chain fired them because they were an interracial couple. The commission found Wal-Mart guilty of discriminating against two employees, both of Logan County, on the basis of race. The woman, who is white, and the man, who is black, worked in the receiving department of the Wal-Mart store in Russellville, in southwestern Kentucky. In 1989, store officials fired the then-couple for violating company policy on fraternization and nepotism. The store first denied the woman's request that she and the man be allowed to date. The commission said in its decision that other couples had violated Wal-Mart's nepotism policy but had not been fired. 8/22/02 Full story in the August Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • School Headmaster Accused of Harassment: In a report issued by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination found credible evidence to support complaints that a headmaster at a private preparatory school in Western Massachusetts sexually harassed a part-time employee and the retaliated against her when she complained. The report also said that the Commission found that the headmaster of the Berkshire School in Sheffield, sexually harassed at least 20 other women, including students. 8/15/02 Full story in the August Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Virginia's House Speaker Quits: The most powerful man in the Virginia legislature resigned recently after admitting he paid $100,000 to a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. Republican House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr. gave in to the continuing demands that he resign, less that a week after lawmakers learned of the settlement with an office clerk. Wilkins denied impropriety, but lawmakers made it clear they did not believe him and more women were said to be preparing to come forward with similar complaints. 8/5/02 Full story in the August Webb Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

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