Every workplace should be free from harassment. This includes sexual harassment. California employment law protects employees from all types of sexual harassment including sexual assault, unwanted sexual advances, sexual gestures, derogatory comments or jokes and sexual threats. California employees are also protected from retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment.
If an employee is subjected to sexual harassment or retaliation in any form then they have the right to be compensated. Three Californians were recently awarded a total of $1.4 million after suffering alleged sexual harassment at work.
These employees worked for the ICEF Public Schools in Los Angeles. The ICEF is a charter group located in south and southwest Los Angeles. It operates 13 different schools.
Each of the three sexual harassment complaints was made against one male teacher. The teacher has since resigned his position.
The first complaint came from the man's female assistant. She claimed that the man made her watch a sex tape he had made. He also had sex with another woman while she was in the room and on a school trip. The woman complained about this treatment and was fired less than a week after the complaints were made.
The second complaint was made by a female dance teacher. It stemmed from her relationship with the male teacher.
The third complaint came from another dance teacher. The woman claims that the male teacher pushed her to have sex with him. When she refused, the man threatened to withhold her paycheck. The man also made her pick her paychecks up at his personal residence. After complaining about the harassment, the man threatened to fire her.
The ICEF made the decision to settle each of these claims out of court. The first woman received $375,000. The second woman received $175,000. The third woman received $825,000. If these cases had not settled, they could have gone on to litigated in civil court. In a court case, these women -- like anyone else who has suffered from sexual harassment in the workplace -- may have been entitled to further compensation, which is one reason employers may choose to settle.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Debt-ridden ICEF spent nearly $1.4 million on harassment claims," Howard Blume, June 24, 2012