Within the workplace, supervisors and managers are in a position of power. This position comes with a certain level of responsibility and a code of proper conduct. In every state across the nation, it is illegal to abuse this power by harassing employees. Unfortunately, some managers ignore these laws and regulations, which can result in a civil lawsuit filed by one or more employees. This is what happened recently when a California state park supervisor was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that the former deputy director of administrative services at the parks department sexually harassed a subordinate. The plaintiff claims that she was then fired without any valid reason. The suit alleges that she was fired after she had criticized the management's handling of a prior sexual harassment complaint levied by two other women against another park employee.
The plaintiff in this case injured her back in a vehicle accident last year. However, the former deputy director fired her after he found out she had been participating in Zumba fitness classes. The supervisor terminated the plaintiff without doing any further investigation. However, the suit claims that the defendant's doctor had recommended the fitness classes as a part of her physical therapy.
The supervisor accused of sexual harassment has left his position. However, he quit following an internal investigation into an unauthorized vacation buyout program that he devised, and not over claims or investigations into sexual harassment. If there are no witnesses or other victims to testify against the former supervisor, this suit may not be an easy case to argue. The plaintiff will need to gain comprehensive knowledge of applicable California laws and court procedures in order to win.
Source: SFGate.com, "Sexual harassment suit hits state parks," Marisa Lagos, July 28, 2012
- Our firm handles situations similar to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Los Angeles sexual harassment page.