Not only is sexual harassment in the workplace illegal, but it also is costing a significant amount of money. The influx of reports of sexual misconduct has led journalists and investigators to dig into the scope of these behaviors. What they have found is a trail of monetary payoffs and cover-ups over the years that have kept accusers silent and cost states and businesses a sizeable amount of money. California, despite having many protections, may be one of the biggest offenders.
The News Journal in Delaware recently revealed sexual misconduct payoffs over the past decade cost the state $663,000, plus the costs of litigation. Cases were filed alleging sexual harassment, misconduct, and discrimination across a variety of departments. Totals in other states varied pretty widely. Florida tallied $11 million in settlements, but that was over a 30-year period. Investigations in New York revealed at least $5 million in payouts from 2008-2010.California, a much larger state, has also seen a much larger number of claims. A report from the Sacramento Bee earlier in the year shows the state paid more than $21 million over just the past three years to settle sexual harassment claims. Another $3.9 million in payouts were associated with public universities in the state, but were covered by insurance plans. The majority ($15.2 million) went toward claims out of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which includes the state prison and parole system.
This financial side effect is particularly disturbing in government, when you consider taxpayer money is being used to pay for alleged misdeeds conducted by people taxpayers have hired to work for them and represent their best interests. California’s executive branch is the second largest employer in the state with 230,000 employees. It’s the first largest employer if you tie in the employees from the public universities.
Government departments of course are not the only ones paying big for settlements related to sexual misconduct. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in the past seven years companies have paid close to $300 million for sexual harassment claims. This total is only for public penalties and does not begin to scratch the surface of all of the private settlements made in exchange for discretion from the accuser and non-disclosure agreements. Settlements of this nature, sadly, are often considered a part of the cost of running a business. With the #MeToo Movement shining such a public spotlight on the issue, though, it’s becoming more difficult for offenders to hide behind the deep pockets of their companies or taxpayers. It’s time to clean up how businesses operate so this stops happening and everyone can work without fear.
While our Orange County sexual harassment attorneys are well aware of the financial ramifications of misconduct, we are more concerned about the ways it has cost its victims in their dignity, security, ability to remain in their job of choice, and, as such, stability of income. So long as harassment is occurring in workplaces, someone should have to pay, and it shouldn’t be you. Our skilled lawyers will help build the strongest case possible and defend your right to a safe and harassment-free place of work. Those who commit sexual harassment need to be held accountable, and that begins with a consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Sexual Harassment Went Unchecked for Decades as Payouts Silenced Accusers, Dec. 1, 2017, By Nathan Bomey and Marco della Cava, USA Today
More Blog Entries:
Closing Legal Loopholes That Silence Sexual Harassment Victims, April 25, 2018, Orange County Employment Lawyers Blog