A Southern California company has been ordered by a Kern County jury to pay two workers more than $800,000 in damages. Two workers, a mother and daughter, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company in 2015.
According to the lawsuit, the daughter began to experience sexual harassment shortly after she was assigned to work in a packing shed owned by the company. A forklift driver working in the shed began to target the daughter with inappropriate, sexually-charged comments, including asking for kisses. The driver also drove his forklift at the daughter to frighten her.
The daughter told her mother about the sexual harassment she was experiencing. Her mother took the complaints to a manager who was dating the forklift driver. Complaints were never bumped up to other managers, and the daughter continued experiencing harassment.
After more harassment, the mother filed a formal complaint. This time, the company investigated the claims. She was fired a month later, and the daughter was transferred to a position working under the forklift driver’s girlfriend. In its decision, the jury concluded the company did not take steps to stop the sexual harassment. The mother and daughter may also pursue punitive damages against the company.
Do Workers Have Options to Prevent Sexual Harassment Retaliation?
Employers sometimes retaliate against workers for reporting sexual harassment or discrimination. Sexual harassment retaliation can include verbal abuse, demotions, low performance evaluations and job termination. Some employers retaliate by making the jobs of workers excessively difficult.
Workers reporting harassment or discrimination have protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. California also has laws protecting workers from this type of abuse.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to discern when an employer is retaliating. An experienced employment law attorney can help workers discover if their employers are guilty, and if legal options are possible.