Los Angeles Fire Department Settles Sexual Harassment Suit

When something terrible and unlawful happens and a victim comes forward to tell their story, the thing they fear most is being ridiculed and harassed concerning disclosure of the events. A Los Angeles firefighter filed a sexual harassment complaint against the Los Angeles Fire Department with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after he was harassed for a sexual abuse lawsuit he was involved in.

The man filed the complaint after fellow firefighters started harassing and mocking him with religious and sexual references coinciding with his lawsuit against the Catholic Church for sexual abuse. He faced continued harassment, from 2006 until the complaint in 2007. This week the department settled the case for nearly $500,000.

The Los Angeles Fire Department also agreed to continue to enforce harassment and retaliation policies and agreed to put in place a system that allows employees to report abuse and harassment with someone outside the workplace. Agreements to improve reporting procedures are sometimes put in settlements in hopes of preventing future harassment at the same workplace.

It is every employee’s right to work in an environment that prevents discrimination and allows workers to report abuses without retaliation. This case is especially disturbing because the victim of the workplace harassment was being harassed about being victimized in another separate case of abuse.

Victims of harassment sometimes fear coming forward with their cases because of possible retaliation. Retaliation is illegal and an experienced Los Angeles employment law attorney can help seek justice for workplace sexual harassment.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “L.A. Fire Department settles firefighter’s harassment case,” Jan. 31, 2012

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