A recently filed gender discrimination lawsuit alleges that a woman’s boss forced her to sign an agreement that falsely stated that she participated willingly in inappropriate office conduct and that her boss conducted an investigation that did not actually take place.
The lawsuit stems from harassing conduct by the woman’s supervisor in which he discussed his sexual desires and habits at work and in relation to the woman. The inappropriate conduct by the supervisor went on for quite some time until the employee finally complained to the CEO who was unfortunately the cousin of her supervisor.
Instead of conducting an investigation in compliance with employee handbook requirements, the CEO drew up a statement and asked the woman to sign it, so that she would falsely acknowledge that she had participated in the harassing behavior. The statement also falsely indicated that the CEO had investigated the incidents.
After signing the agreement the woman resigned from her job. She is now seeking actual damages for the income she lost and the costs incurred as a result of the sexual harassment and being forced to leave her job. She is also seeking punitive damages for her gender discrimination claim. Punitive damages are designed to compensate victims of harassment for pain and suffering and to act as a deterrent to future misconduct by the party who must pay the damages. In employment law cases, punitive damages are typically reserved for cases in which the employee has suffered from emotional distress as a result of the misconduct by their employer.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Harassment Wasn’t Bad Enough, Woman Says,” Joe Harris, Dec. 10, 2013.