There used to be a time when the thought of sexual misconduct in a church setting would be absurd, ludicrous even. Unfortunately, we as a society have moved past not even being surprised at such allegations, but almost come to expect that a church might have hidden sexual harassment secrets. Take for example, the Grace Episcopal Church of Whitestone, which faced charges that an interim rector subjected a secretary and a sexton to unwelcome sexual advances, sexual remarks and sexual touching. The alleged sexual touching included the rector grabbing the two women’s breasts and kissing them.
It does not matter what business an employee works – flipping hamburgers, nursing, secretarial, waitressing or even working in the house of G-d – employer cannot use their power and influence to demand any type of sexual favors. Don’t try and kiss. Don’t grab. Don’t even demand dirty talk. This type of conduct gives rise to quid pro quo sexual harassment and sexual harassment hostile work environment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as Ohio R.C. § 4112.99.
To make matters worse at the Church of Grab Ass, the employer fired the secretary after she opposed the sexual propositions – another clear no-no. Both federal and state anti-harassment laws also make it unlawful for employers to retaliate against employees that report or oppose such conduct.
In this case, the law caught up with the Church of Blessed Fondling to the tune of $192,500. Church sexton’s typically make $28,000 per year on average. While the average secretary makes $33,000 per year on average. As such, the settlement, which also contained non-monetary actions to be taken by the Church, represents significantly more than a year’s salary.
If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 273-3742. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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