Two former Assembly aides, Victoria Burhans and Chole Rivera, have been awarded a combined $580,000 as compensation for the sexual harassment that they suffered under the hands of former Brooklyn lawmaker, Vito Lopez. The two aides will split the compensation. Of the amount awarded $545,000 will be paid by the state while Lopez will be liable to pay $35,000.
So New York is now even further in the red. No wonder jobs and businesses are leaving this state in droves.
Burhans and Rivera have issued a statement saying that they want other women suffering from sexual harassment to also file suits for compensation in order to ensure that women are treated with dignity in the workplace. The women also hope that the case will ensure that New York lawmakers no longer treat women they work with in such a manner. The award is a culmination of two years of research and investigation.
Silver is a Disgrace to New York
Earlier, the then New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver had quietly paid $103,000 as a settlement in 2012 to two other women who had accused Lopez of sexual harassment. While Silver has since been arrested on charges of corruption, he has also been accused of not doing more to curb sexual harassment in chambers.
Lopez resigned in 2013 and was then asked to pay a fine of $300,000 by the state ethics panel for allegedly groping and harassing female aides.
Silver is a white collar criminal as his investigation is just beginning; it goes way beyond sexual harassment for him.
Assemblyman Lalor has said that the New York taxpayers are going to be unhappy about having to pay the fine for an Assemblyman’s behavior. He added that the Assembly should have taken steps much sooner to stand up to Silver. Many people it is a shame Silver violated the public’s trust in such a vile way.
Sheldon Silver has cost New York thousands of jobs and his elitist behavior has led to the feds going after him right now.
The current penalty is the result of negotiations and settlement talks. The agreement does not include a confidentiality clause.
Defining Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can be broadly defined as unwelcome sexual contact, gestures, or language as well as demand for sexual favors in the workplace. Those who are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace can sue their employer under Title VII that prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace.
When a person sues for compensation for sexual harassment the employer and the harasser are held liable for the damage. According to the law, employers are obliged to provide a workplace free of sexual discrimination that makes the workplace unpleasant for some people.
Assessing the Unwelcome Nature of Sexual Harassment
According to the law, welcome sexual contact between consenting adults in the workplace or romantic relationships do not constitute sexual harassment. However, the courts have also held that the victim of sexual harassment need not verbally express that the sexual nature of the interaction is unwelcome. Instead, they examine the context and circumstances of the interaction to determine if it was sexual harassment. This is because the courts recognize that the victims might feel powerless to openly reject the sexual advances because of the power relationships in the workplace.
As sexual harassment cases are difficult to prove, victims of these crimes need to retain the services of an experienced sexual harassment lawyer who can investigate and assess the evidence and argue the case on their behalf.