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  1. #1

    Default Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: California

    I work with a shit-bag who has been accused by several women of sexual harassment (he was their direct supervisor) over the course of several years and different work-places within our company. Lots of ladies chimed in "me too" about this guy.

    My company did an "investigation" where they interviewed everybody. They emailed two of the ladies saying "we investigated and found your claims to be true"... thanking them for coming forward and saying they'll change their policies as a result etc.

    They end up not firing the guy which is difficult to believe. Can these ladies sue the company even if some of the incidents were more than a year ago?

    Can they sue over the company's reaction? This scum-bag still lurks around and makes ladies feel uncomfortable. I personally was able to work with him while I knew he was a narcissist, liar, cheater, and fake but now that I know this other stuff (and some of these ladies are my staff and good friends of mine) I've really lost respect for the company higher-ups.

    Anyway, trying to give these ladies a little help.

    Thanks!

    Also, when one of the ladies first came forward, they told her if she wanted to file a claim she would have to sit in an office with him and have a conversation with him about how his behavior was inappropriate.

    I thought this was really messed up. It was not the first time she had complained about him either.

    Is this the norm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    Please try to post without using profanity. It doesn't paint you in a good light.

    You can't sue for the company not FIRING someone. You can only sue for damages you suffered (either lost pay or in some cases emotional issues). Unfortunately, being "uncomfortable" because someone is alleged to have made advances to others isn't actionable.

    SOL issues depend just upon the exact nature of the damage claims and where the suit was brought.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    You also need to understand the company is not obligated to fire the guy or take any other punitive action. They must act to remedy they issue. If a chat with the guy solves the problem, then that is all they have to do. If it takes more, then that is what they are obligated to do.

    They dont have to tell you or any other employer what they did to deal withrhe situation.

    If the guy violates the law, the aggrieved party needs to file a complaint with the eeoc.


    So the bottom line is; they don’t have to punish the guy. They have to change whatever it takes to remedy the situation of actual illegal activity. They don’t have to do anything if people think he’s creepy.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    Quote Quoting SanFrancisco
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    They end up not firing the guy which is difficult to believe. Can these ladies sue the company even if some of the incidents were more than a year ago?

    Can they sue over the company's reaction?
    When it comes to sexual harassment, the way it works is that the employer is only liable for it if the employer (1) knew about the sexual harassment and (2) failed to take sufficient action to get it to stop. So if the employer didn't know about the sexual harassment when the first complaints were made, the employer isn't liable for that. What matters at that point is what the employer does to address the problem. The law does not require that the employer fire the alleged harasser or reassign the alleged harasser to someplace where the victim is not present. All that the law requires is that the employer do something to put a stop to it. That can be as simple as the harassers boss telling the harasser to knock it off. If it works, then the employer has done what the law requires and there is no lawsuit for the employee who was harassed.

    In order to pursue a claim under federal law the employee must first file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and get a right to sue letter from the agency. If the employee does not file the EEOC complaint on time then the employee is barred from suing the employer. . the statute of limitations (SOL) to sue for sexual harassment for employees in California is 300 days from the date of the sexual harassment incident.

    Under California law, the employee must make the complaint with the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment within one year of the last act of harassment. Again, that's required before the employee may sue. The federal government and California do coordinate on this so an employee can make a complaint with just one of them and indicate the employee is filing for both and the agencies will share the information. In that case, make sure to meet the shorter federal deadline.

    California law provides a bit more protection than federal law does, requiring an employer to make employees aware of their rights under California law, requiring that employers have a sexual harassment policy, and for larger employers they must also do sexual harassment training. The employee may sue both the harasser individually and, if the employer failed to meet its obligations, the employer as well.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    Quote Quoting SanFrancisco
    View Post
    My company did an "investigation" where they interviewed everybody. They emailed two of the ladies saying "we investigated and found your claims to be true"... thanking them for coming forward and saying they'll change their policies as a result etc.

    They end up not firing the guy. . . . Can these ladies sue the company even if some of the incidents were more than a year ago?
    Anyone can sue anyone for anything, and "these ladies" are obviously free to consult with a local attorney who handles employment law matters.


    Quote Quoting SanFrancisco
    View Post
    Can they sue over the company's reaction?
    A "reaction" is not something for which someone can maintain a lawsuit.

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
    View Post
    When it comes to sexual harassment, the way it works is that the employer is only liable for it if the employer (1) knew about the sexual harassment and (2) failed to take sufficient action to get it to stop. So if the employer didn't know about the sexual harassment when the first complaints were made, the employer isn't liable for that.
    This statement overlooks that the alleged harasser here "was [the] direct supervisor" of the persons allegedly harassed. When it's a supervisor doing the harassing, then the employer has knowledge. The prior knowledge rule only applies when the harassment is being done by a person at the same level or a subordinate.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    Right on.

    Thanks for the help, apologies for the language.

    This issue was brought to HR's attention before he "struck again" with another lady. One of the instances a client told our staff that he wanted to eat whipped cream off her naked body and this guy told her to "take it as a complement". He (the boss) also tried to kiss her a few times. She lodged that complaint. Months after that complaint was launched to HR, when she was dealing with a problem guest he (the boss) told her maybe she should sit on his (guest) lap and call him daddy. It was the same or worse with the other women, but also happened outside of the SOL. These things I mentioned here were more recent.

    Also forgot to mention he was in an inappropriate relationship with another lady who he promoted. She was a hard-worker, but the other few he was harassing at the time were equal in this regard. Of course we never witnessed them having sex or anything, but it was very clear to everyone they had a very inappropriate relationship. They were very obvious about it, and the bosses wife would also come around talking S*** about her and causing a scene..

    Thanks again.

    It would likely be tough to prove their inappropriate relationship though I imagine. Everyone who worked there at the time would agree that's what was going on, but I imagine in the eyes of the law this might not be enough.

    The one who was promoted has been recognized in our field internationally, has been written about in books, and has excelled in her career as a direct result of her promotion. She was promoted during their inappropriate relationship presumably because she was the one who said "yes" to the inappropriate behavior.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    Workplace consensual sexual relationships are not illegal. Further, they may not even be inappropriate. If the PTBs deem workplace consensual to be OK, then these relationships at their organizations are appropriate (albeit risky).

  8. #8

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    All other factors were equal, and he promoted the one who said "yes" to his advances? Because of this promotion she's now internationally recognized in our field and her career has taken off. The two ladies who said "gross, no." did not receive any such recognition/promotion.

    Sounds like quid pro quo to me, but again difficult to prove.

    Thanks for your help here everyone. Perhaps their best recourse would be to come out publicly with their accusations to put this guy and the company on blast.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    The fact that she has been successful shows it was a good promotion. She didn't get smarter just because she was banging the boss.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations for Harassment Apply Only to Incident or Co. Reaction

    They all really are great at what they do. Equally great, equally smart. It legitimately could've been any of them, but I think this is besides the point since this would all be too difficult to prove.

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