Memphis, TN- This week, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill that would essentially punish a person if they lose a civil suit against a state employee or elected official.
The bill, which passed the House 69-16, will require individuals to pay the legal fees of public workers and elected officials if they file a civil suit against them and loses their case. The legislation applies to suits filed against public employees in private suits and is intended to curtail bogus claims.
According to WBRC, Sen. Mike Bell, a Republican from Riceville, said the bill will “send a strong public message that those filing frivolous lawsuits under Tennessee law against Tennessee public servants in their individual capacity will pay the cost incurred in defending such lawsuits.”
Some lawmakers say the legislation would save the state money by discouraging frivolous civil suits against elected officials and state employees. But critics of the law say it discourages victims of sexual harassment, for instance, from filing a legitimate claim. One of the groups to oppose the law is the Tennessee Bar Association.
Jeff Yarbro, a Democratic from Nashville, fought against the legislation, insisting lawmakers shouldn’t be excluding themselves from the civil suits, WBRC reports. Yarbro pointed out “that just because someone loses a lawsuit doesn’t mean it is frivolous,” the TV station reported.
Laws like this is one of the many reasons workers who face harassment or discrimination refuse to come forward and report the offender. They would much rather endure the daily abuse than suffer the consequences of reporting the abuse and seeking damages. This law serves as a de facto form of retaliation, but instead of being denied a promotion or being fired, a victim person who loses their discrimination or personal injury suit will have to go into debt if they lose their case.
People who are exposed to harassment or discrimination on a daily basis suffer. A hostile and abusive work environment will affect the mental health of the victim. According to Live Science, abusive behavior in the workplace can cause anxiety and depression.
Another reason an employee should take a stand against sexual harassment is the effect it has on a workplace. Sexual harassment and other forms of workplace discrimination take a toll on coworkers as well as the victim. An abusive work environment leads to low morale, a dip in productivity and high employee turnover rates.
There is a real cost of sexual harassment, which is why victims are allowed to seek compensation (for now). If you have been sexually harassed in your Memphis, Tennessee workplace USAttorneys urges you to speak with an employment law attorney to see if you have solid grounds to pursue legal action. You may be eligible for emotional damages and compensation for their loss of wages.
Let USAttorneys connect you with a sexual harassment lawyer in Tennessee to discuss what options you have to get the compensation you deserve. You can count on our attorneys to stand up for your rights and do their best to get you the justice you deserve.