A car dealership has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for over $2 million. Male employees claimed that the former male lot manager sexually harassed male employees for over ten years. The conduct included sexual comments, inappropriate grabbing and touching of male employees and frequent solicitations for oral sex. Over 50 male employees were subjected to sexual harassment. Male employees at the car dealership had to come forward to complain in order to stop the sexual harassment.
Federal and state laws protect both male and female employees from sexual harassment. Employees can bring claims of sexual harassment against a harasser who is of the same gender. In this case against the car dealership, the harasser was male and the victims of the sexual harassment were also male. Companies have a legal obligation to stop sexual harassment in the workplace.
Employers have an obligation to investigate claims of sexual harassment and stop the harassment. Harassers can be co-workers, supervisors, vendors, suppliers and business partners. Harassers can be male or female. Examples of conduct that might create a hostile work environment are: inappropriate touching, jokes, gossip, sexual conduct or comments, requests for sex, displaying sexually suggestive pictures and objects and sexual gestures.
Although this lawsuit was brought under federal law in New Mexico, Massachusetts has very strong laws to protect workers from sexual harassment. Companies in Massachusetts will be held responsible for the conduct of its supervisors. It doesn’t matter if the company didn’t know the supervisor was harassing employees. Where the company put that supervisor in a place of authority, the company is responsible for the supervisor’s conduct.
If you have been harassed at work, please call Attorney Maura Greene at 617-936-1580 to find out if you have a claim. Maura Greene was named a Super Lawyer in 2013 in employment. She has been named by the Boston Globe as one of Boston’s top-rated employment lawyers.