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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.

  • Pain-and-Suffering Awards Let Juries Avoid New Limits: According to a recent story in the New York Times, "as all sorts of limitations have recently been placed on punitive damages, creative lawyers have shifted their attention to pain and suffering, a little-scrutinized form of compensation for psychic harm." One of the most outstanding cases involves Linda M. Gilbert who works as a millwright at the DaimlerChrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. A millwright is sort of a troubleshooter, the work is difficult, and it is unusual to find a woman doing it. In 1999, a jury in Detroit found that Gilbert's male co-workers had harassed her for years with pornographic messages, vulgar talk and insults. It awarded her $21 million. The award is the largest affirmed for an individual sexual harassment plaintiff in United States history. 12/13/02

  • Jury Awards $1.5 Million: A former employee of the Morrell & Co. meat company was awarded $1.5 million by a federal jury in Sioux City, Iowa, who found that the woman was subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation. Rita Baker alleged that she was sexually harassed by at least three male co-workers over a five-year period and that this caused her medical problems, including depression. She said her supervisors did nothing about her complaints. The company claimed the women never complained about harassment. It said that a co-worker may have used loud and abusive language toward her, but that he used loud and abusive language toward everyone. The case is Baker v. John Morrell & Co., N. Iowa, No. C 01-4003-MWB, jury award, 10/2/02. 11/27/02

  • Suit Against Ford Dismissed: According to Danny Hakim writing for The New York Times, a sexual harassment suit against the Ford Motor Company was dismissed because the plaintiff and her lawyers discussed with reporters evidence that the court deemed inadmissible, even though a good deal of that information was a matter of public record. Circuit Court Judge William J. Giovan in Detroit, ruled that the plaintiff and her attorney had released information about the defendant's previous conviction in their attempt to prejudice potential jurors, and in violation of Michigan law. "The behavior in question has been intentional, premeditated and intransigent. It was designed to reach the farthest boundaries of the public consciousness," the judge said. Hakim said some legal experts said the finding was highly unusual, especially in its implications for the right of a plaintiff in harassment case to speak out freely, and because the courts typically use the screening process during jury selection to resolve concern about what jurors know. 11/14/02 Full story in the November Webb Report - Subscribe Now!

  • Man Awarded $80,000 for Sexual Harassment A Turlock, CA man was awarded $80,000 in emotional distress damages for sexual harassment he endured while working at a dairy products manufacturing plant. The California Fair Employment and Housing Commission ruled that the man had been the target of discrimination while working at the plant because of his sexual orientation and his nationality. The commission also said the company failed to address the problem. The commission ordered the manufacturer to develop a written policy against harassment, provide training on the policy and post notices admitting the violation of the Fair Housing an Employment Act. 11/6/02

  • 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 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 Report - Subscribe Now!
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