A Napa medical malpractice insurance company agreed to implement preventive measures and pay $230,000 in damages to two female employees who claimed they were fired after complaining about sexual harassment, the Napa Valley Register reported on September 26, 2011. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued The Doctors Company on behalf of Kimber Thompson, a former administrative assistant, and her co-worker, Carrie Giltner. According to the Register, the EEOC charged that Thompson was sexually harassed by her direct supervisor, Daniel Bucsko, a vice president of patient safety, on a daily basis in 2007. Court documents said the harassment included “inappropriate comments about her personal appearance and marital status; inappropriate comments about her body; text messages and emails; unwelcome touching, including massaging of her hand and shoulders; and physically aggressive conduct such as backing Thompson into corners and against walls.”
Thompson spoke to management to file a complaint about the harassment shortly after the company provided anti–sexual harassment training with Giltner accompanying her as a witness, but the Register reported that the EEOC said “the company began to hyper-scrutinize the work of the two women and subsequently fired both of them in 2008.” Thompson will receive $150,000 before taxes ($70,000 for wages and $80,000 for emotional distress), and Giltner will receive $80,000 before taxes ($40,000 for wages and $40,000 for emotional distress). A receptionist at The Doctors Company told the Register that Bucsko is no longer with the company.
“It was difficult to have to complain about sexual harassment; I was really afraid,” Thompson said in a press release. “At first, I didn’t want to do anything because it was my boss. But my co-workers, especially Carrie, really supported me. I was devastated when I was fired, and I felt worse when they went after Carrie, too.”
Do you think you would be too afraid to report quid pro quo sexual harassment or a “hostile working” environment? Our Los Angeles employment lawyer wants to hear from you. If you have questions about what constitutes sexual harassment, contact our firm today to set up a confidential consultation.