L.A. City Council Approves $75,000 Settlement

Officials have approved a $75,000 settlement to be paid to a Los Angeles City staffer who worked for Councilman Mitch Englander. According to reports, the staffer worked in the office from February 2012 through April 2013. The complaint alleges that the Councilman made aggressively sexual and crude comments to the staffer during the course of her employment. In addition to the sexual comments, the Councilman also allegedly continued to make remarks and create a culture of discrimination and harassment.

interview1The lawsuit was filed in the fall of 2013, naming the plaintiff as “Jane Doe,” however her identity was eventually revealed when the court ruled that she could not remain anonymous. The settlement was considered a success for the plaintiff as well as the defendant whose interest has been in quick resolution and minimizing public exposure of the case. Our Orange County sexual harassment lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers throughout Southern California. We are abreast of key legal issues facing today’s workforce and are dedicated to raising awareness to prevent future abuse and harassment.

Sexual harassment may arise in the event that the employee is faced with a hostile work environment or in a “quid pro quo” sexual harassment claim where a superior requests favors for employment related rewards or threatens adverse employment action. Every case is unique and should be reviewed by an experienced attorney. In this case, the plaintiff suffered from repeated advances, comments, and remarks that created an overall culture of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The plaintiff has the right to take legal action and to recover financial compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional harm, and additional losses or expenses.

The city Claims Board was responsible for approving and signing off on the settlement. According to the board, the settlement was preferred to “fighting these frivolous allegations in court.” Members issued a statement that fighting the case and the cost of litigation would have been more than paying the expenses out of pocket. Settling a case prior to extensive litigation can be a benefit, both for plaintiffs and defendants. Though negotiation and out-of-court settlement, a plaintiff can minimize risk, ensure compensation, and prevent an extended and costly jury trial. For defendants and defendant corporations, a settlement is also beneficial because it limits public exposure and prevents a public record of the case.

Representatives allege that the sexual harassment claims are “patently false” although there was no public record of defense in this case. On August 14, an attorney for the plaintiff requested that the case be partially withdrawn, though no reason for the withdrawal was made public. According to news reports, this is the second high-profile case in Los Angeles involving City Council members and their staffers. Another Councilman is facing a lawsuit for sexual harassment, after a staffer claimed that her employment was predicated on sexual favors, though the Councilman claims that the affair was consensual. This case is also in the phase of negotiation; however, no settlement has been reached. Both Councilman to the Los Angeles City Council are up for re-election.

Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 714-937-2020.

More Blog Entries:

LinkedIn to Pay $6 Million in Overtime Settlement, August 22, 2014, Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog

California’s Top Employment Law Mistakes, Oct. 26, 2013, Orange County Employment Lawyer Blog