Memphis, TN- An appeals court upheld the $1.5 million judgment awarded to three temporary employee who alleged they were subjected to repeated sexual harassment and retaliation at a North Carolina-based logistics company.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced this week that they won the appeal and the original $1.5 million judgement stands, according to Staffing Industry Analysts.
The initial lawsuit was initiated by three women who were sexually harassment by a supervisor and one man who confirmed their allegations. During the 2013 trial, a jury found that the women’s supervisor at the Araya warehouse subjected them to “unwelcome, sexual touching and lewd, obscene and vulgar sexual remarks,” Memphis Business Insider reported.
The three women and one of their male coworkers came forward and filed a formal complaint, but they said they were subjected to retaliation and were eventually fired. A common reaction employers have when faced with such allegations.
In addition to the $1.5 M payout, New Breed Was ordered to revamp their sexual harassment training and reporting policies.
Retaliation often goes hand in hand with the sexual harassment in spite of the legal ramifications. When an employer punishes or fires someone for reporting sexual harassment, they take on a great deal of legal liability. It is the fear of retaliation that make victims of sexual harassment reluctant to come forward and allows the behavior to persist.
Not taking action against the harasser can also be a legally toxic for an employer, affecting all employees. An employer can face a costly lawsuit and may be exposing other employees to harassment by not taking action when they receive a complaint. An employer may not believe the allegations or think the complaining employee is being too sensitive. Whatever their reason for ignoring a complaint, it’s unwise to do nothing and could guarantee the victim’s success in civil court.
There are many cases of sexual harassment that are not legitimate, but that can’t be determined unless an employer conducts an investigation. It is an employer’s duty to protect their employees from a hostile work environment. When an employer doesn’t take these steps to shield their employees from harassment, the victim is urged to contact a sexual harassment attorney to work on their case.
Federal law allows sexual harassment victims to seek compensation for their loss present and future wages, any medical costs they might incur and damages for emotional distress. With the assistance of a sexual harassment attorney and strong civil case, victims of sexual harassment or any type of workplace discrimination will be able to secure generous compensation.
Just know that if you are being sexually harassed, you don’t have to tolerate it or any other behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable in the workplace. If you’ve tried to address the behavior with your employer but you have been ignored or disregarded, you need to contact a sexual harassment attorney to detail your rights and tell what steps you need to take next.