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Manager at major school district files sexual harassment lawsuit

One common type of employment litigation in New Jersey revolves around sexual harassment in the workplace. Many times employees who are subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination on the job can file a complaint and have the situation rectified before they become subject to a hostile working environment.

When filing a complaint with management does not solve the problem, either because management is involved in the harassment or because of flimsy or nonexistent workplace policies, it may become necessary to instigate further legal proceedings in order to protect one's rights. This can be done by filing a sexual harassment lawsuit.

This is exactly what happened in the nation's second-largest school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District. There, a 56-year-old male employee says that he was subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination by his 80-year-old male superior, who also happened to be the superintendent of the school district. The allegations appear to be disputed between the two parties as to what actually took place, and whether the actions, if any, were consensual.

In order to resolve this employment dispute the school district and the employee agreed to a tentative settlement agreement, in which the employee was to receive $200,000 and lifetime health benefits. However, the employee was under the impression that his identity, the nature of the sexual harassment allegations and the details of the proposed settlement agreement would remain sealed from the public's view.

When the school district publicized the details of the allegations and the settlement, the employee decided not to sign the settlement agreement, but instead to file two lawsuits. One of the lawsuits was filed against the superintendent for the sexual harassment claim. The other lawsuit was filed against the school district for violating the employee's right to privacy and for defamation.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "LAUSD employee files sexual harassment claim," Aug. 5, 2012

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