Everyone in Minneapolis is aware that sexual harassment is a serious issue and that every company should have policies which send the message that such behavior will not be tolerated. In spite of these policies, many employees are subjected to sex harassment and complain that their employers did not take their claims seriously or initiate any action against the harasser. This can create an uncomfortable work environment if victims are subjected to offensive sexual comments or even physical actions. Often their only choice is to take legal action against the company.
A female truck driver accused her employer of failing to take immediate action when she reported that another employee was sexually harassing her. She took her claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the EEOC filed a class-action lawsuit against the trucking company.
However, the EEOC appeared to err in that they filed the lawsuit and then looked for women who were victims of sexual harassment instead of the other way around. As a result, the class-action suit was dismissed but the original victim was allowed to pursue her claim. The trucking company decided to settle with the alleged victim for $50,000 rather than take the case to trial and spend around $1 million in legal fees. The company still denies that it was negligent in addressing the sexual harassment claim of the woman.
Companies may use this case to pressure for the dismissal of large class-action lawsuits, putting victims of sexual harassment at a distinct disadvantage. It is important for someone who has been subjected to any form of sexual harassment to consider discussing legal options with an attorney.
Source: Omaha World-Herald, “Iowa trucking company to pay $50,000 to settle sexual harassment suit,” Feb. 12, 2013