Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Friday, March 10, 2006

Another MDV for the EEOC - Florida Sexual Harassment Case


Thee EEOC press release, Jury Orders Associated Security to Pay $1.34 Million for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation, gives the basics of the latest MDV following a two day jury trial in Tallahassee.

This time it is for what the EEOC describes as "egregious acts of verbal and physical conduct on the part of one of the company's owners." Plus there was the added attempt at a cover up. More specifically:
The harassment included the company’s owner groping one of the women’s breasts; requesting sex in exchange for money; inviting the women for overnight stays; and frequently requesting oral sex. The EEOC asserted that the women repeatedly rebuffed the owner’s sexually offensive conduct and complained directly to the co-owner of the company; however, the corporate defendant failed to implement corrective action. Further, one of the female victims was the company’s former human resources officer. She testified that the company owner tried to cover up the illegal conduct by ordering her to falsify the personnel records of the claimants who had filed sexual harassment charges with the EEOC.
Not hard to see what made the jury mad.

The verdict is for four women and included $300,000 punitive damage awards for each. That is an interesting amount since it is the maximum allowed for compensatory and punitive damages for companies with 500 or more employees. Under the statute juries are not supposed to be told of the damage caps. Also it appears this may have been a smaller employer which would mean a lower cap. Which makes me think that someone on the jury may have been knowledgeable at least to a certain degree about Title VII, or perhaps it is just a coincidence, or is what the EEOC lawyer asked for.

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