By its very nature, a workplace should be a place of professionalism and respect, and providing a safe work environment for employees should be a priority. However, there are occasions when a workplace may no longer be safe for one or more employees. A former New Jersey school district employee experienced that first hand, and was recently awarded a settlement for her claim of sexual harassment.
The woman, who has since separated from the school district, was a secretary for a former district superintendent. In 2011, she filed a lawsuit against her boss, claiming that she was forced into starting a sexual relationship against her wishes. The ex-superintendent has continually refuted these claims.
After reviewing the case, an arbitrator's suggestion was that the woman be awarded $4.5 million as compensation for her sexual harassment claim. It was also recommended that the cost be divided between the ex-superintendent and the school board. However, the former secretary and school district reached a settlement and signed off on $600,000 as recourse. The cost will be shouldered mainly by the district's insurance company.
Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace can be a difficult task. Employees frightened of backlash or losing their jobs may even be hesitant to come forward. While cases may vary widely from person to person, New Jersey victims of sexual harassment in a similar situation may find it beneficial to be aware of state laws applicable to their situation. Filing a sexual harassment claim against an employer can help ensure that other employees are not victimized, and victims may even be awarded financial compensation in order to help them move forward.
Source: therepublic.com, NJ school district to pay $600,000 to settle sex harassment case brought by former secretary, No author, Jan. 26, 2014