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Women claim San Francisco firm failed to put a stop to harassment

Three women who worked for a venture capital firm based in San Francisco have recently decided that the only way they will be able to protect their rights after being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace is to file a lawsuit against their former employer.

The three women are suing CMEA Capital and a former chief operating officer. The women claim that even after reporting several incidents of sexual harassment, the harassment continued and went unaddressed by the firm. CMEA claims that the women's accusations are not true and has stated that it will fight the lawsuit.

The three women who are suing CMEA claim that they reported several incidents of sexual harassment to managers, but the harassment continued because the firm did not appropriately handle the workers' complaints. The women claim that the former chief operating officer made inappropriate remarks about their sex, sex lives and race. Despite being able to provide managers with specific examples of sexual harassment, one manager had blamed one of the employees for being an "instigator."

Employees in San Diego and throughout the state of California deserve to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment.

This means workers should not have to experience unwanted advances from their supervisors, clients or co-workers, they should not have to hear other workers say offensive and inappropriate comments about one's sex, they should never be threatened for turning down a sexual advance or refusing to perform a sexual favor, and workers certainly should not be punished for reporting inappropriate and harmful actions in the workplace.

Unfortunately, those who choose to speak up about sexual harassment are not always taken seriously by their employers. And sadly, some victims of sexual harassment are blamed for others' inappropriate actions or even accused of lying or exaggerating unsafe conditions in the workplace.

Sexual harassment is harmful, but not being able to protect one's rights may be just as devastating. In order to make sure employees' rights remain protected while proceeding with sexual harassment complaints, employees will want to consider consulting an attorney who knows how to hold employers accountable for violating the rights of employees.

Source: Bloomberg, "CMEA, former executive accused of sexual harassment," Joel Rosenblatt, March 9, 2013

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