Sexual harassment and wrongful termination/retaliation.

Asked over 6 years ago - Seattle, WA

I was sexually harassed by another employee. When I reported to HR, they terminated my job. The reason they gave me was "I told people on my team that I was harassed by this employee."

I was hired by this public company 2 weeks ago. It's a senior position oversees a product design team. The harassor has a same level job in title but is in a different job category.

I'm very upset, humiliated, emotionally distressed. I would like to find out how strong my case is? What is the highest settlement in this type of case in the history.

I would like to find a great lawyer to help me with this. I will probably not settle this outside of court. I'm prepared to go to court because I want to face those liers and confront them. Will anyone give me an estimate on this?

Thanks.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Donald W. Heyrich

    Contributor Level 13

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . Estimates are difficult if not impossible because you never know what a judge or jury might do. Generally, assuming you can prove that retaliatory motive was a substantial factor in your discharge, your damages would include lost pay and emotional distress/pain and suffering damages. The lost pay usually is a fairly straightforward formula that accounts for the pay you lose until you find another job. The emotional distress award is whatever the jury determines the pain and suffering is worth in monetary terms. This can range from a few thousand dollars up to hundreds of thousands depending on the case and the emotional or psychological toll that a situation has caused. Federal law also allows punitive damages. Washington law does not. If you file under federal law, the emotional distress and punitive damages are subject to a monetary cap of $50,000 for a company up to 100 employees, $100,000 for a company up to 200 employees, $200,000 for a company up to 500 employees, and $300,000 for a company with more than 500 employees. Emotional distress damages are not capped under Washington law. If this is a publicly traded company of some size, they likely have sophisticated HR professionals who are aware of discrimination laws and the prohibitions against retaliation, so they must have thought that the reason for termination -- discussing the situation with coworkers -- was a reasonable nondiscriminatory reason for the termination. Consequently, your attorney will want to understand all the facts and research whether your actions of communicating the situation to coworkers was actually protected conduct or whether it was a legitimate reason to terminate you. That is difficult to say based on these abbreviated facts. Also, you should know that 98% of cases that are filed are resolved before trial, either because of a settlement or because the case is dismissed on summary judgment. Litigation is expensive. An attorney can take a case on a contingent fee, meaning that the lawyer takes a percentage of the recovery in lieu of billing you by the hour, but you still must pay the costs of litigation. While you incur these costs, even in the very best case, you still have some chance of getting a bad jury or a bad judge on a bad day, so litigation in inherently risky. Thus, as you get further into your case and consider the costs, the risks, and the peace of mind that may come from resolving the case, you may decide that a settlement makes sense, but that will be your decision after receiving the advice of your attorney. I hope that helps. -Don

  2. Okorie Okorocha

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    2

    Answered . This sounds like a classic case of what the law calls retaliation. I would certainly consult an attorney about your situation.

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