Sexual harassment in the workplace can quickly contribute to a hostile work environment. On top of this injustice, those who report such misbehavior are many times retaliated against in many ways. This is when it is time for employment law experts such as Ty Hyderally to step in and take action. Both of these actions, sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting are in violation of employment laws that are in place. When these types of injustices occur, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) steps in to litigate. In order to avoid such a big mess in the workplace, expert lawyers like Tayeb Hyderally work to inform businesses and workers of their rights and responsibilities as they pertain to employment law.
A jury just awarded $350,000 to three women who used to work at Endoscopic Microsurgery Associates which is a medical practice located in the Baltimore area. The women alleged that they were exposed to unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances by the company’s CEO. The EEOC’s suit states that Linda Lux, the company’s receptionist was repeatedly suffering unwanted sexual advancements which was creating a hostile environment in which she had to work. The company’s CEO, Dr. Mark Noar and its CFO, Martin Virga continually made sexually motivated advances toward Ms. Luz who kept on refusing the advancements. The practice then began to retaliate against her by disciplining her for nonexistent infractions in behavior and rescinding leave that had been approved before. Eventually these built up until she was terminated. Study coordinator Jacqueline Huskins and Nurse Kimberly Hutchinson both reported that they also suffered similar experiences and advances from both Virga and Noar.
The company and the EEOC could not reach a suitable settlement through the conciliation process. It went before a jury of 9 Baltimore residents who found unanimously that the ladies were entitled to compensatory damages in varying amounts from $4,000 to $110,000. Each of the women also received $110,000.
This is a very significant verdict as it sends a message to those in high positions. It lets them know that just because they work at a high level in a reputable company; it does not mean that they are exempt from employment laws. They must continue to treat other employees in a professional manner. Cases such as these help remind companies how important it is for sexual harassment policies to be in place in their company. Their employees should know how, where and to whom these types of behaviors must be reported. They must also realize that retaliatory actions for reporting an incident such as this will be penalized.
The EEOC is the government agency which has the responsibility of enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They work with lawyers such as Tayeb Hyderally to prepare companies for these types of situations. Employment law specialists such as Ty Hyderally can help companies develop policies which inform employees of their rights and responsibilities in dealing with sexual harassment and retaliatory actions for reporting in the workplace.
sexual harassment in the workplace
Expert lawyers are often called upon to represent victims who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. To make matters worse there are many cases in which the victim also suffers retaliatory actions simply for reporting the incident. Tayeb Hyderally is an employment law expert who has many years of successful litigation in cases involving employment law including sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting.
It is imperative that companies have a solid plan of action in place for instances in which these types of allegations are made. Attorney Ty Hyderally offers companies his expertise on the matter and can help them develop appropriate policies which can protect both employees and employers in these types of instances. Companies which do not have policies in place can have a very complicated situation on their hands which could have been avoided if policies had been created to intervene.
Recently one such case involving both sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting reached a settlement. Three women were employed by Holiday Inn Express located in Simpsonville, South Carolina. They alleged that one of the general managers had sexually harassed all three women. The harassment included inappropriate sexual remarks, unsolicited and unwanted advances and improper touching. This had created a hostile work environment for the women. One of the women filed a complaint with the hotel chain but they failed to take proper steps in responding in a timely manner to the complaints. The company neither investigated nor tried to put an end to the ongoing harassment.
After the woman complained about the sexual harassment, she was terminated. The firing was done by the general manager who was the subject of the harassment allegations. The EEOC maintained that this termination was retaliatory in nature. The EEOC also brought suit against two more companies who are responsible for managing and operating the hotel. These two companies settled with the EEOC and as part of the settlement the companies must make a monetary payment of $90,000 to the victims which will split the money amongst themselves. The companies are also agreeable to taking appropriate steps so that sexual harassment will be prevented in the workplace. As part of the agreement the companies must redistribute their policies on sexual harassment and require annual training on sexual harassment as well as retaliatory actions. All of the hotel’s managers, employees and supervisors must attend this training each year. The companies also have to report any further complaints or allegations of sexual harassment directly to the EEOC.
Sadly enough these types of cases happen frequently. Companies are forced to comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which declares that retaliation for reporting an incident is unlawful. Tayeb Hyderally prepares for speaking engagements in which he informs companies and employees how these types of situations can be completely avoided. He also shares his legal expertise to inform them of how to prepare policies that will protect company officials and employees in such cases. Companies should not only have policies regarding sexual harassment in place but also ensure that these policies are easily available to employees at any time.
Many times as part of a settlement on a sexual harassment case, a company will have to make positive improvements to the way they handle and resolve these types of allegations. Sometimes it means revised or additional training that is mandatory for their workers; or it may be revision of policies regarding how allegations are handled. It’s hard to believe that today there are entities who fail to recognize the seriousness of these types of situations. Ty Hyderally is an employment law attorney whose expertise is in handling cases where rights have been violated. Mr. Hyderally also travels and is often invited to speak to various groups and companies to help them be better informed on matters concerning employment law and how a hostile work environment can be avoided altogether.
Mid Valley Labor Services, Inc. is a California based company which has hundreds of employees. The company is a statewide farm labor contractor who provides services for farmers such as workers for vineyards. They recently settled a sexual harassment and retaliation case for $150,000. According to the lawsuit filed by the EEOC, two of their female employees was subjected to sexually explicit language and sexual propositions by her crew supervisor who is male. When the two women objected to the sexual harassment and advances, they were terminated from their jobs. The EEOC cited this as a retaliatory action toward the women for reporting the sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits both sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting or complaining about it.
The provisions of the settlement include $150,000 to be paid to the workers in damages. Mid Valley will also provide annual sexual harassment training to its employees. These sessions will be conducted by out outside professional. They will also make some revisions to their sexual harassment policy as well as their procedures for filing complaints. Supervisors will also be properly trained in preventing sexual harassment and retaliation. The company will also report regularly to the EEOC regarding any harassment complaints that may be received.
Employment laws are in place to protect workers from sexual harassment as well as retaliation for reporting such infractions. The government agency which is responsible for enforcing employment discrimination is the EEOC. The EEOC received this case form the Mexican Consulate. The outcome of this case and others like it helps companies understand that they must take the responsibility of properly training employees as well as those in supervisory positions on the proper procedures for sexual harassment. Hopefully, the revisions made in the company’s policies regarding sexual harassment and retaliatory actions for reporting will serve as a stark reminder that these types of actions will not be tolerated in the workplace. Workers who are trying to make a living for their families should not be subjected to such harassment. And they certainly should not be subjected to retaliation simply for reporting a wrong that has been done them. The company did not confirm or deny the allegations which were made against the supervisor; they simply tried to reach a settlement quickly to save time and money.
Attorney Tayeb Hyderally spends much time educating many establishments on matters concerning employment law. He shares his expertise in hopes that knowledge of the laws will reduce the occurrences of discriminatory practices in the workplace. The knowledge of employment law is essential for both employee and employer. Cases of sexual harassment are commonly committed by one in a supervisory position, but not always. Therefore it is important for all workers to remain adequately informed about preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.
Missoula Mac, Inc. owned 25 McDonald’s franchises in south-central Wisconsin. Recently they were involved in a sexual harassment suit in which female employees who worked at the franchise in Reedsburg, Wisconsin alleged that they had suffered sexual harassment as well as retaliation in the workplace. The female workers complained that co-workers who were male had made many sexual comments along with unwanted and unsolicited physical contact. They also stated that they were forced to kiss and touch the male workers in inappropriate ways. The female workers reported their co-workers harassment but nothing was done to address it or stop it. Complaints continued and then the female workers were terminated. The company’s statement about the case filed with the EEOC did not deny that the inappropriate conduct occurred and actually Missoula Mac officials said that they agree that “improper workplace conduct” did occur but were unsure of the extent. They stated that the company’s employees are encouraged to report any form of sexual harassment.
Rather than continue litigation indefinitely, Missoula Mac chose to settle the case. They figured that the time and finances which a case would consume would be more costly than making a settlement offer. The former owner agreed to pay $1,000,000 to almost a dozen former employees in order to settle the federal sexual harassment suit.
The settlement that the EEOC and the Poynette-based Missoula Mac, Inc. reached included requirements for the corporation to create a position that is specifically created just to handle complaints involving sexual harassment. They also had to create a sexual harassment hotline that would remain available for employees and also train both workers and managers concerning employment rights and the proper way to handle situations should harassment occur.
The company, who stated that they sold the Reedsburg facility last year, had to also create a new position which will be responsible for monitoring, resolving and soliciting complaints about the working environment in their restaurants. The person who holds the position has visit each of the company’s restaurant at least two times per year in order to be available to employees who are encouraged to voice any concerns. Managers are now required to attend a minimum of two hours training on harassment, employment rights, retaliation and how to handle these types of complaints appropriately and efficiently. Hourly employees must also receive training on their rights and responsibilities as well as the proper procedures to report harassment, retaliation or discrimination. The company also created a video which employees must watch before the training sessions. The video contains a message from company President John Orr stressing the importance of zero tolerance toward sexual harassment in the workplace.
Cases all across the nation can set precedents for rulings in other states. New Jersey employment law is affected by cases such as this one which was heard in the state of Kansas. It is interesting cases like this one that has kept Tayeb Hyderally involved in employment law as it pertains to sexual harassment. What makes this case so interesting is that it involves a sexual harassment case in a church setting. Before the case could be heard by the courts it first had to be deemed that it would not in any way violate the separation of church and state. In this case, it did not as the alleged sexual harassment was job related yet the secular ruling had no bearing on the religious standings of the church. The court also found that Title VII could be applied to the work setting without entangling the government in religion.
Sue Ann Dolquist was ordained in the Presbyterian Church and served as pastor. She alleged that during her tenure the choir director, who was also a church elder, made vulgar comments and touched her inappropriately. She reported the conduct to her supervisor who threatened to fire her. The situation was not addressed properly by authorities. When the work environment became unbearable she decided to quit. She then filed suit in federal court against the churches which had employed her stating that the church and its supervisors where in violation of Title VII. The defendants tried to argue a “ministerial exception” but the courts denied this motion.
Miller subjected Dolquist to oppressive, degrading, emotionally upsetting and sexually inappropriate behavior from 1996 to 2001. He was also engaged in such inappropriate behaviors with other women in the church during this same time frame. He finally resigned from his position as music director in June of 2000, but remained in the position of a church elder. When members tried to rehire Miller as the church music director in 2001, Dolquist objected and referred to his past sexual misconduct. In September of 2001 the church advised her that she had also been accused of engaging in behavior similar to Miller’s. In October, 2001, she was fired even though her job performance was satisfactory.
She filed five counts against the Heartland church sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, negligent infliction of emotional distress and outrage and failure to supervise. Two of these cases were dismissed, infliction of emotional distress and claim for negligence.
This case was very important in setting precedents to protect employees of religious institutions against sexual harassment in the workplace.
The legal world is vast, especially when one begins to study employment law and sexual harassment. Ty Hyderally is an experienced lawyer who has been intrigued with the complexity of this legal area. Actually, this complex world is what first made it appealing to him. He has been successfully litigating cases of employment law and various forms of discrimination for many years. He also has offices in both the New York and New Jersey areas.
There are both state and federal laws which are created to protect employees against sexual harassment in the workplace. Federal laws are centered on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These laws apply to employers who employ 15 or more persons. Most of the time employees who work for smaller businesses are still covered by state level anti-discrimination laws. While state laws may vary some on issues of same sex harassment, federal law supports claims against an employer for same sex harassment.
There are two types of sexual harassment as it occurs in the workplace. Quid Pro Quo Harassment is where an employee is required to tolerate some level of sexual harassment so that they can keep their job, obtain benefits, raises or promotions. And a Hostile Work Environment Harassment is a situation in which the harassment interferes with the work performance of an employee, or creates an offensive or abusive work environment.
One incident could be considered a quid pro quo harassment claim, but usually to establish a hostile work environment there will be a pattern of abusive conduct. There are several types of behaviors that can be classified as sexual harassment. Any time there are unwelcome sexual advances, verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature or requests for sexual favors it can constitute a sexual harassment claim. There are certain situations where an employer can be held liable for misconduct of non-employees, if they do not take any form of appropriate or corrective action to detour the behavior.
To bring a claim for sexual harassment the plaintiff will have to establish that they found the conduct to be offensive, abusive or hostile. To file a complaint against a workplace for sexual harassment does not mean that one has to be a victim. Usually prior to filing a suit in a sexual harassment case, the complainant will have to file a complaint with the employer or their administrative agency. To file a federal complaint, it will have to be filed with the EEOC first. And there are local and state agencies to which persons can file complaints.
Title VII will also provide protection for employees who file a sexual harassment case, who are testifying in these types of proceedings, or are participating in an investigation or litigation that is associated with a sexual harassment complaint. An employee may lose a sexual harassment claim, but still win against the employer on the grounds of retaliation.
Ty Hyderally specializes in cases of sexual harassment.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits employers from discriminating in any job-related action, including recruitment, interviewing, hiring, promotions, discharge, compensation and the terms, conditions and privileges of employment on the basis of any of the law’s specified protected categories.
Moreover, an employment policy or practice that is neutral in its terms may be deemed unlawful if the policy or practice has an adverse impact on protected groups. So what do you need to know when it comes to your rights in the work place?
To learn more about sexual harassment litigation you can read my article here.