Case Conclusion Date: March 24, 2010
Practice Area: Arbitration
Outcome: Arbitrator Awards to Each Claimant: $150,000.00
Description: Two Claimants who were obligated by a mandatory arbitration agreement that precluded them from going to court, suffered severe sexual harassment during their employment at a Hotel. The Claimants’ supervisor hired her relative as Claimants’ co-worker. He engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment, targeting numerous victims that ultimately included Claimants. The harasser’s actions included physical assaults in which he would rub his penis on his victims’ bodies through their clothes, attempted hugs and kisses, indecent exposures, propositions, incessant questioning of his targets regarding sex, and far more. The harassment was known to the supervisor because, despite her denials, she saw and heard many of the actions herself, and because some express complaints reached her. Hotel gave the harasser a warning for harassing a woman before the Claimants came to the Company, but rather than progressively discipline him, they thereafter abdicated responsibility for preventing his misconduct. Understanding that he had carte blanche, the harasser proceeded to intimidate the entire department staff into tolerating his misbehavior. As one has stated, everyone would tell him to cut it out when he was in the midst of harassing a woman in full view of other employees, but that never stopped him from starting a new round of outrageous behavior later. The Harasser exposed himself and assaulted one Claimant on numerous occasions, and assaulted the other in full view of the supervisor, who did nothing. Soon thereafter, he was dragging a Claimant indicating every intention of raping her. At that point, Claimants both recognized that they had to overcome their fears and challenge Hotel to put a stop to the outrages they were experiencing. When they protested directly to the supervisor, the harasser voluntarily resigned without any pressure from management. However, in the period just after the harasser resigned, the Claimants experienced extreme hostility from their management. The Arbiter found that Claimants resigned thereafter. The Arbiter found that Hotel subjected the Claimants to a hostile environment by allowing the described harassment, and made awards of $150,000.00 to each, plus an additional award of attorneys’ fees and costs.