California Business to Pay $165,000 Where Management Ignored Ongoing Sexual Harassment
CFB, Inc., a California business that operates assisted living homes, has agreed to pay $165,000 to settle a sexual harassment case involving an office assistant who alleged she was sexually harassed by a maintenance worker for which CFB failed to take the requisite steps in response to her complaints. The employee contended that the maintenance worker groped her repeatedly and propositioned her to engage in a sexual encounter in the office.
After filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) on May 23, 2016, the DFEH found cause to believe a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) occurred. On June 23, 2017, the DFEH filed suit in Shasta County. The lawsuit alleged that after the office assistant reported the harassment, management failed to take action to investigate or discipline the harasser, and refused to limit the harasser’s interactions with the complainant. Other female employees provided evidence that they too complained of harassment by the maintenance woker for years, and management ignored their complaints.
CFB, Inc. agreed to pay the office assistant $165,000, and immediately develop and implement a harassment prevention policy including a procedure for filing and investigating complaints and discrimination prevention training to all employees.
Any complaint of inappropriate sexual conduct requires a California employer to launch an unbiased, prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations. If the conduct violates California law, the employer must immediately implement corrective action to eliminate the unlawful harassment. Moreover, California law now requires employers who employ five or more persons to conduct harassment training every other year for supervisors and employees. Turning a blind eye to complaints such as this one can have far more costly ramifications than here where the DFEH, and not a private attorney, brought suit for the unlawful actions.
For more information on responding to complaint of unlawful conduct in the workplace, contact Lisa Sherman at (424) 249-3631 or [email protected].