Sexual harassment can be a real concern in the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers from harassment at work and to ensure that everyone who works for them feels safe and secure. But sometimes, however, inappropriate behavior occurs in a work environment. In these situations, employees hope they can turn to their employer for help, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.
One woman in Colorado experienced this frustration recently when she reported acts of sexual harassment to her employer, which she said were ignored.
The woman filed a lawsuit against the Original Pancake House in Boulder, Colorado, after she was fired for complaining about being sexually assaulted by other members of the staff. She said that the three cooks would back her into a walk-in cooler and grope her with the lights off. The suit claimed that she was sexually assaulted by kitchen staff for 2 ½ years, and that management also became abusive toward her when she asked them to intervene.
When she brought her concerns to the owner, he reportedly laughed at her and did nothing to stop the behavior. The woman also said an assistant manager began harassing her as well. She was reportedly fired in 2009 after continuing to make complaints.
The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court, and the terms of the settlement have remained confidential. However, a criminal investigation is ongoing against the cooks of the restaurant after they were arrested earlier this year.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment in a work setting is all too common, despite both federal and state laws in place to protect employees. Employers are required by law to ensure that their employees are safe while they are on the job, and failure to do so could result in the victim bringing legal action against them. But far too many people suffer in silence in situations like this. For those who have been the victim of harassment or assault while at work, seeking experienced legal advice may be beneficial.
Source: Thedenverchannel.com, "Restaurant Settles With Former Waitress In Harassment Case," Alan Gathright, 8 June 2011