Juries handing out hefty sexual harassment verdicts

For the second time over the past few months, a California jury has awarded a worker a multi-million verdict based on allegations of sexual harassment.

In the most recent case, a producer of holograms, who is a billionaire, was ordered to pay $11 million to his former employee. The employee said that the billionaire touched her in an inappropriate manner without her consent and also said that he ordered her to watch pornography with him. The woman also said that at one point, someone hired a male stripper to perform for the birthday party of another business executive at the company.

Ultimately, she claimed that she lost her job after the billionaire propositioned her for sex and she refused. Her case could therefore rightly be described as one of harassment.html">quid pro quo harassment, that is, the type of sexual harassment that happens when a supervisor conditions the terms of employment on whether an employee will provide sexual favors to the supervisor.

For his part, the billionaire says he is contemplating an appeal of this decision.

In the previous months, another jury awarded two former employees of a winery around $11 million. The employees said that their general manager harassed them. The two employees also said that the winery punished them after they started to complain about their treatment. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against employees who complain about sexual harassment.

If anything, these cases illustrate that California juries have little tolerance these days for employers who condone or tolerate sexual harassment. Employees who work in and around Los Angeles should keep in mind that if they experience sexual harassment at the work place, they may have legal options available to them.

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