California employees may have heard that the CEO of a Wall Street investment firm was ordered to pay $18 million to a former employee for sexual harassment and retaliation. According to the lawsuit, the former employee was reportedly coerced into having a sexual relationship with the CEO but was later fired when he discovered another man in her apartment.
The former employee also claimed that, after she was fired, the CEO made claims on his blog that the woman was a “street walker” and a “loose woman.” He also reportedly went so far as to travel to Sweden to intimidate the woman at her new job. The woman’s attorney stated during the trial that the CEO’s message that he could ruin her life was made clear. The CEO argued that the two never had a sexual relationship and that the former employee was fired for other reasons.
The CEO was ultimately ordered to pay $2 million in compensation for sexual harassment, defamation and retaliation. The remaining $16 million was awarded as punitive damages.
When employees are experiencing unwanted sexual advances, the quality of their work and their personal health can suffer. If they file a report but the problem is not remedied or the employee is retaliated against, they may potentially have the grounds to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the person perpetuating the harassment as well as the company. An attorney may use specific evidence, which may include text messages, emails or witness testimony to demonstrate that the inappropriate behavior was not remedied. Depending on the case, the employee may seek compensation for lost wages and potentially punitive damages.
Source: TIME, “