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Federal Sexual Harassment Settled Day Before Trial Date

A small, family-owned company recently settled a sexual harassment suit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a female employee who suffered alleged harassment. Hobson Air Conditioning employed only one female employee at a particular facility at the time of the alleged sexual harassment.

The woman claimed that in 2008 she was sexually harassed by her manager with explicit remarks and sexual demands. The former employee said that the manager touched her without her consent and exposed himself to her.

Through the EEOC lawsuit, the woman said that she reported the harassment to management but her superiors ignored her claims. She was forced to quit, she said, as a result of their inaction and the terrible work conditions.

While the settlement one day prior to the trial resulted in a $37,500 award for the woman, Hobson president denied wrongdoing. They merely stated that the costs of continued litigation with the federal government over the sexual harassment claim would be too expensive. The president noted that the company had enough evidence to win at trial but that the costs were too high.

In general, an employer must investigate or make adjustments when sexual harassment is reported in the workplace. An employer who takes no action to remedy a hostile or inappropriate working relationship may be held accountable for the harassment.

Source: Weatherford Democrat, “Company settles federal sexual harassment lawsuit,” Christin Coyne, 2/14/2012

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