Employers are not allowed to operate workplaces that become hostile due to various kinds of harassment or sexual misconduct. Victims of these behaviors have the option of filing a civil case against their workplace and employer.
A woman who worked for a government office in Baton Rouge in suing her former employer for sexual harassment.
Employee of local clerk’s office suffers from repeated harassment
The woman who worked for East Baton Rouge’s Clerk of Court’s Office says she faced retaliation and harassment from the person who was second in charge of the entire organization. The victim’s lawsuit does not specify an amount of damages, but the claims are for lost wages, benefits, emotional distress, and psychological trauma. A local Baton Rouge attorney who is handling the case filed the initial complaint on her behalf.
The facts outlined in the lawsuit describe how the Chief Deputy made numerous unwanted sexual advances from the time she was hired in November 2012 until her employment ended. Some of the specific allegations include several times when he directed her to go into his office, then commented on her body and discussed his own sexual preferences and previous relationships. The defense attorney who represents the Clerk’s Office claims that her client never harassed anyone or terminated employment as a form or retaliation.
The lawsuit further alleges that the victim formally complained to her supervisor, and told the Chief Deputy to stop this inappropriate behavior. The defense attorney claims her own investigation shows those formal complaints never happened.
The forms of retaliation detailed in the case include reprimands without any underlying problems, removal from certain job duties, false reviews for poor performance, a transfer out of the downtown office in Baton Rouge, suspension, and a formal notice of termination near the end of 2018. The defense claims that she was actually fired for violating agency policy and she never brought up the sexual harassment issues until months after she was fired.
A few months after her termination, the victim filed a formal complaint with the U.S. EEOC that detailed discrimination based on gender and race, along with the retaliation from the chief. After the investigation by the government agency, they released a concluding report in November of 2019 which stated that they could not substantiate her claims, but noted that this does not exonerate the Clerk’s Office from any wrongdoing or prove their compliance with labor laws. The Clerk’s defense attorney referred to this as a dismissal, although the formal documentation from the EEOC does allow the victim to file her own lawsuit within 90 days, which she did.
The Clerk’s Office claims that the deputy chief has had no other complaints about harassment in the 17 years that he has been employed there.
Protections for workers
Although this incident happened in Louisiana, employees are protected by various local and federal laws that make sure employers cannot get away with similar forms of mistreatment anywhere in the country. Remedies can include lost pay, and other benefits that the plaintiff would have received if they were able to remain in their former position.
Get help after a case of harassment or discrimination
There are attorneys who focus on these kinds of cases in the state of Louisiana. Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf are available to speak with you about a lawsuit.