“Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen next: not on a freeway, not in an airplane, not inside our own bodies and certainly not on a racetrack with 40 other infantile egomaniacs.” Dr. Claire Lewicki in Days of Thunder. The quote from a 1990 racing moving will become apparent shortly.
There is control in the workplace to stop infantile egomaniacs from engaging in sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964makes it clear that sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and illegal, and it is an employer’s responsibility to make sure employees know that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Employers should provide meaningful training aimed at identifying and preventing harassing behavior, and inform employees of their rights. An employer who fails to guard against sexual harassment and does not take complaints about harassment seriously could end up paying thousands or even millions of dollars to employees who are victims of harassing behavior.
Case-in-point, a female firefighter was recently awarded $1.7-million-dollars in damages after she sued her employer for failing to provide meaningful sexual harassment training and failing to take her complaints about harassment seriously.
Raechel Sterud, 32, sued the township and her supervising lieutenant, Keith Myers, alleging that a male firefighter began sexually harassing her immediately after he transferred to her unit. Sterud claimed that, despite her complaints about the fellow-firefighter, Myers did nothing to address the harassing behavior. Instead, Sterud was fired shortly after she complained. Firing the sexual harassment victim would seem to be against any reasonable sexual harassment training that any reasonable employer would have — that is, if anyone was actually paying attention at the training. But, the evidence at trial also revealed that township firefighters watched sexual-harassment training videos on a split screen so that the so-called training wouldn’t interrupt a NASCAR race they were watching. That type of conduct by management completely sends the message that no one really care about sexual harassment except to go through the formality of showing the video. I think that this is worse than not showing the video at all. The jury agreed.
The jury’s $1.7-million-dollar verdict in this case sends a powerful message that employers who do not take sexual harassment training seriously will pay the price. For those that are race fans, that is what us sexual harassment employment attorneys call dropping the hammer.
working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney at (216) 291-4744 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At The Spitz Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harrassment is a former of gender discrimination, and employers should be held accountable if they discriminate against female workers in any fashion – but particularly for sexual harrassment.
The materials available at this gender discrimination and employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. It is best contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm or any individual attorney.