A contract worker for the Oceanside Police Department has won a $1.5 million judgment for a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the city and a former police officer, according to UT-San Diego. A Vista Superior Court jury determined that Kimberli Hirst was subject to repeated sexual harassment while working as a phlebotomist for the department. Hirst was contracted to draw blood for the department in DUI cases.
Hirst’s lawsuit claims that former Officer Gil Garcia began harassing her in 2008. Garcia was terminated in 2009, after Hirst first made her complaint. Garcia admitted to the making inappropriate comments, but describes it as “more of a consensual, back and forth sexual banter between the two.” Apparently, Hirst did not see it the same way.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, it is important that you are aware of your rights and your options. It is a good idea to document instances of harassment if you make a complaint to supervisors or human resource workers. Sexual harassment does not have to be direct or physical—it takes on a variety of forms, and is often more about a power struggle than sex itself.
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Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys