Six female supermarket employees won a $30 million punitive damages award based on their claim of verbal and physical abuse from a state-wide supermarket chain. The women accused the chain’s director of throwing several items at the women and calling them questionable names. It was the largest sexual harassment verdict that was ever recorded for abuse that stemmed for over a decade at the grocery chain.
The lawsuit, however, could have been avoided if the grocery chain took risk management steps. The women had filed several complaints with the chain early on but nothing seemed to change, which caused them to take the drastic step of filing a lawsuit. Early on, a jury awarded the women around $3 million in punitive damages but a new trial was ordered due to juror misconduct.
If you are experiencing a situation in the workplace that you think constitutes sexual harassment, contact a Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney today so that your case can be properly evaluated.
Sexual Harassment Defined
Most people perceive sexual harassment being an action that evokes sexuality: unwanted sexual touching or sexual suggestions. However, an action or saying that merely implicates an individual’s gender but that is not sexual in nature may be enough in order to create a hostile work environment and may be considered sexual harassment. Merely using the word “bitch” in front of both male and female coworkers referencing women may be considered sexual harassment under specific circumstances.
If you are not sure whether your situation consitutes sexual harassment, contact a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer to help you assess your potential case.
Harassment Based On Animosity
In California, if hostile conduct or words take place due to personal animosity between people of the opposite sex, it is not considered to be sexual harassment. This is seen as annoying and overbearing treatment of an employee based on anger rather than sexual harassment. Therefore, it is not grounds for a sexual harassment claim. The law says that in order to have a sexual harassment case, it has to be clear that the individual is being harassed due to her sex and not because of a personal reason other than gender by itself.
In a case where you are not sure whether sexual harassment has occurred, contact a Los Angeles discrimination attorney immediately to make sure to protect your right and to protect your business.