Oceanside Phlebotomist Wins $1.5M in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit against City
April 19, 2013
An Oceanside, California phlebotomist, a person responsible for drawing blood samples in DUI cases, has recently won a $1.5 million harassment lawsuit, after accusing a former police officer of sexual harassment.
According to the lawsuit filed by phlebotomist Kimberli Hirst, her officer Gil Garcia engaged in verbal sexual harassment that created a hostile work environment in 2008. Garcia, who was fired after Hirst's sexual harassment complaint was filed reportedly, admitted to making comments to Hirst that were inappropriate, but claimed that the comments were consensual--a kind of sexual banter between them.
After learning of Hirst's sexual harassment complaint, the city began an investigation, that took about six weeks, reportedly ended in placing Gil Garcia on leave in October of 2009, with a dismissal in November 2009. During this time, Hirst claims she was forced to endure even more sexual harassment from the police officer.
In the jury's 11-1 verdict, they reportedly placed 25 percent of the blame on Garcia, and 75 percent of the blame on the city for the handling of Hirst's complaints. As Garcia was acting as an Oceanside police officer at the time of the sexual harassment, he reportedly will not be responsible for paying the jury's award.
According to Vincent Howard, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the entity responsible for enforcing federal employment laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee because of the individual's sex (including pregnancy), race, religion, color, national origin, disability, age (over 40) or genetic information, states that sexual harassment can include asking for unwelcome sexual favors, any sexual advances, and other sexual harassment of a verbal nature or a physical nature.
The EEOC also states that although Title VII doesn't prohibit basic teasing, other comments, or incidents that are isolated and not serious, harassment is against federal law when it is so severe or constant that it creates a hostile work environment, or results in an employment decision that is adverse, like demotion or job termination.
In Orange County, California, contact Vincent Howard and his team of labor and employment attorneys today, for a free consultation about your workplace harassment rights.
$1.5M Award in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit, U-T San Diego, April 19, 2013
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