The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has won a lawsuit on the behalf of three former medical workers who accused two of their supervisors of sexual harassment. The workers were awarded damages totaling $350,000, to be paid by the Maryland medical practice that employed the women. Each worker will receive $110,000 in punitive damages, with an additional $14,000 in compensatory damages.
The 2010 lawsuit accused two executives with the medical practices of repeated sexual harassment and retaliatory termination. The EEOC alleges that the men made unwanted sexual advances on the women, asking them for dates, making inappropriate comments about their clothes, relationships and appearances and touching them sexually against their will.
After the employees rejected their advances and complained about the improper behavior, the supervisors reportedly began punishing the women by throwing objects at them and denying them paid leave without providing a valid reason. One receptionist claims she was fired for complaining about conditions in the office.
Reporters reached one of the defendants at the practice, but he chose not to speak regarding the case. "It would be inappropriate to make any comment on the jury decision at this time, especially since the case has not yet concluded," he explained. However, he did say that the practice may appeal the ruling.
An attorney representing the EEOC said the decision is important because "it reminds high-level officials who function as the employer that their high level does not give them license to abuse women."
Companies accused of sexual harassment, discrimination or other illegal workplace practices face severe penalties and fines, making it important for them to employ qualified legal professionals specializing in employment litigation to represent them in court.
Source: Business Insurance, "Jury hits medical practice with $350,000 verdict in sexual harassment suit," Matt Dunning, July 25, 2012