EMPLOYEE WINS $112,000 FOR SAME-SEX HARASSMENT
Supervisor Criminally Prosecuted And Convicted For Abusive Sexual Conduct.
Federal EEO Advisor, October 1999.
The Defense Department has agreed to pay $112,000 in compensatory damages to an employee who was subjected to more than five years of physical and verbal harassment.
The award is one of the largest issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Washington field office, according to attorney Joshua Bowers, who represented the employee.
"Most people can't endure what this man has endured." Bowers said.
Witnesses said Doe's supervisor would come up from behind him and grab him in a sexual manner. They also stated that on a daily basis, the supervisor spoke to Doe using disparaging, expletive-filled remarks.
Kathleen Aram, the EEOC AJ presiding on the case, noted in her decision that Doe was called such names as "honey-cake" and "sex-slave." Doe, who has a mental disability, was also referred to as "retarded," "stupid" and "crazy."
Doe's supervisor "admitted to slapping [Doe] on the buttocks, exposing his penis to [him] and joking about having sex with [him]."
The supervisor was eventually fired and criminally convicted of "abusive sexual contact" as a result of his actions. Doe remains employed by DOD.
"This is a very satisfying victory because the wrongful conduct in the workplace was corrected, our client obtained appropriate compensation, and the agency and the U.S. Attorney addressed the supervisor's wrongful conduct," Bowers said.
But the National Federation of Federal Employees, of which Doe is a member, criticized DOD for not taking prompt action. "I fault the agency for allowing this to go on for more than five years," said NFFE spokesperson Eugene Sturdivant. "It shouldn't have taken a national representative and lawyer showing up and filing various administrative actions to bring this to a conclusion."
The case follows a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in March 1998. In Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services Inc., the court held that same-sex harassment by men against men may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment.