Des Moines, IA- Anyone who has faced sexual harassment whether it was in the workplace knows how frustrating and demeaning it can be. The victims just want it to stop and when their protestations don’t work they turn to their employers. After all, it’s their responsibility keep a workplace free of discrimination, harassment and hostility. The only problem is that many employers do nothing about sexual harassment complaints and when they don’t they could be on the hook for millions.
How many millions?
Well, that all depends on how disgusting the allegations were, how many victims there were, and how long the employer let it go on. While most sexual harassment lawsuits don’t result in multi-million dollar settlements, a stellar sexual harassment attorney will
Here we’ll look at three of the costliest sexual harassment suits over the past decade.
When: May 2012
Who: Eight female employees for a travel Agency, Four Amigos Travel, in Largo, Florida.
How Much: $20 million.
Why: The plaintiffs, seven women and one man, said the general manager and eight other mangers at the agency subjected the women to daily sexual harassment. The women alleged that during sales meetings, a sales manager discussed ways he would please a woman. Some of the managers pressed their bodies against the women, subjected them to unwanted touching, made repeated vulgar comments and managers would proposition the women for sex while they were in the restroom. One of the male managers who complained about the harassment was fired.
Who: Twenty year-old store clerk for Aaron’s Rents in St. Louis, Missouri
How Much: $95 million
Why: Ashley Alford, a customer service representative, said when she began working at the rent-to-own business in 2005, her supervisor began making lewd comments and inappropriate jokes. His behavior escalated over the next year and he began to call her Trixie and grope and pinch her. In one incident he walked up behind her in the stock room and hit her over the head with his penis. The supervisor’s behavior kept getting worse and in 2006 he threw Alford to the ground and lifted up her shirt. As he held her down, he masturbated over her.
In this case, the plaintiff told the jury about her abusive and troubled upbringing, gaining her sympathy with the jury and resulting in such a large award which attorneys for the Aaron’s rent described as a “classic runaway jury,” according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The $95 million jury award was reduced to $40 million because the EEOC places caps on civil suit awards.
Who: A forty-five year-old cardiac physician’s assistant in Sacramento, California.
How much: $168 million.
Why: Ani Chopourian said in her suit that several cardiac doctors at Mercy General subjected her to pervasive sexual harassment between 2006 and 2008. One doctor repeatedly greeted coworkers with “I’m horny,” and complained about his sex life with his wife. Male staff regularly engaged in sex talk, sometimes during surgery, and inappropriate touching.
The doctor also decried their patients sometimes calling them “pieces of shit,” according to ABC News. She was eventually fired for making repeated complaints, 18 in total, to the hospital’s human resources department, which never took action to stop the rude and crude behavior.
In all of these cases, the employer did nothing to stop the sexual harassment, which got worse over time. As a consequences, these employers had to pay ridiculously but justified settlements. These three case should serve as a warning to employers; protect your employees or a sexual harassment attorney will make you pay.