How to protect your company from a lawsuit tip #4: Do not allow female employees to get harassed for profit

How to protect your company from a lawsuit tip #4: Do not allow female employees to get harassed for profit

In recent years, there has been significant progress made in recognizing and addressing workplace harassment and discrimination, particularly against women. Despite this, many female employees still face a hostile work environment that can negatively impact their career prospects and mental health.

In some cases, female employees have taken legal action against their employers, alleging that management has allowed harassment to occur and failed to provide a safe and respectful workplace.

Here are some recent cases where female employees sued their employers for letting harassment and discrimination happen.

Former beverage cart attendant files $15M suit against California golf club

Peyton Stover, a former beverage cart attendant at Seal Beach, California’s Old Ranch Country Club, has filed a lawsuit seeking over $15 million in damages from the club and its parent company, ClubCorp. Stover alleged that she was not only sexually harassed but also assaulted by club members, and that management failed to take action despite her complaints.

Stover claimed that her supervisor, James Poper, did not intervene in the harassment and even flirted with her himself. Stover eventually resigned and has since become a yoga instructor, but still seeks compensation for the trauma she endured.

McDonald’s franchisee settles sexual harassment charges for $1.99M

AMTCR, Inc., which operates 18 McDonald’s restaurants across California, Nevada, and Arizona, has agreed to pay almost $2 million in settlement of regulatory charges involving the sexual harassment of its employees in their workplace. It appears that as early as 2017, the company had been aware of inappropriate behavior by supervisors, managers, and other employees toward mainly teenage workers, including sexual advances, touches, and offensive comments, and had allowed such behavior to continue.

In September 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint describing the harassment of 11 victims. The complaint stated that the victims faced sexually abusive and hostile work environments, and as a result, most of them resigned from their jobs.

Besides paying the settlement amount, AMTCR also promised to commit to enhancing employee training, monitoring harassment and retaliation complaints, and conducting annual employee surveys regarding workplace conditions.

Former Fox News anchor’s lawsuit destroys CEO’s career

In 2016, Gretchen Carlson sued network CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Carlson, a former Fox News anchor, alleged Ailes had made inappropriate comments about her body and appearance, as well as made unwanted advances toward her. Carlson also alleged that she was demoted and fired after refusing Ailes’s sexual advances and complaining about workplace harassment. Ailes denied the charges, but when the company launched an investigation, other women made similar allegations.

The case led to the CEO’s downfall and resignation in the summer of 2016. Fox's parent company, 21st Century, also issued a statement apologizing for the treatment of Carlson. Carlson was paid $20 million as part of a confidential settlement.

Riot Games’ efforts toward diversity called into question

In 2022, Riot Games, the video game developer behind “League of Legends,” released an annual diversity report showing the company’s progress in promoting a diverse workforce. This included increasing the percentage of women in leadership positions and making strides in hiring people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

However, this report was called into question due to a case filed by former female employees of the video game company. In 2020, the plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging that Riot Games fostered a “bro culture” that allowed for sexual harassment and discrimination against women, people of color, and LGBTQ employees. According to the lawsuit, female employees were subjected to unwanted touching, demeaning comments, and other forms of harassment. Riot Games has denied the allegations and is still fighting the lawsuit in court.

These cases show that despite efforts to eliminate gender inequality in the workplace, many female employees are still subjected to unacceptable levels of discrimination and harassment from superiors or co-workers. If you or someone you know has experienced gender-based harassment at work, it is important to get the legal help and advice you need.

And if you get into a situation requiring family law and personal injury experts, don’t hesitate to call Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams. Our experienced legal professionals are always ready to help.