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3 women win in harassment claim against healthcare provider

Three female employees who were fired from a home healthcare provider will receive a settlement for back pay and damages totaling more than $300,000. In circumstances similar to cases that have been filed in Texas and elsewhere, the former employees claimed they were fired in retaliation after complaining to management about harassment from a supervisor, an area manager, who made sexually offensive remarks to them. The case is, however, somewhat different from other such cases in view of the fact that the sexually offensive remarks came from another woman.

The three women made the initial complaint to company management in 2009 and they were all fired within three months. The company took no action against the supervisor who allegedly made the offensive remarks. The supervisor no longer works for the company and local media were unable to reach her for comment.

The suit alleged that the healthcare provider was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual discrimination and retaliatory actions against employees who make a complaint. The healthcare provider will implement discrimination-prevention training for supervisors and managers as part of the settlement. The employer, however, continues to deny the allegations of its three former employees.

According to the healthcare provider, the settlement was made to avoid the costs of going to court and was based on it being economically smart. Employees in Texas should likewise not be made to suffer from the offensive attitudes of a supervisor who demonstrates insensitivity in the workplace. The laws in our country provide for legal remedies and for monetary compensation from employers that do not take the proper steps to curb workplace harassment or that engage in retaliatory practices.

Source: St. Louis Dispatch, "Home health firm settles Hillsboro sexual harassment claims with EEOC : Business," Lisa Brown, July 24, 2013

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