It can be a complicated situation when an employee in California finds him or herself dealing with sexual harassment. The person might not know whether or not it falls into the category of being a violation of employment law. They could also be concerned about a firing if they complain about it. In addition, they might not be aware of the process of filing a sexual harassment claim. Compounding the difficult nature of these situations is when the person who is allegedly committing the harassment is prominent in the community. Those who are faced with these questions should seek legal advice on how to move forward.
The winner of the 1965 Heisman Trophy for his football achievements at the University of Southern California, and a former player in the National Football League, Mike Garrett, has been accused of sexually harassing an employee under his charge. Garrett, who was the athletic director at Cal State Los Angeles when the alleged harassment occurred, is accused of harassing a former Olympic athlete who is the school’s senior athletic director. According to the woman, Garrett referred to women working in his department by a variety of names such as “babe,” “love,” “legs,” and “sweetheart.” He is also said to have told a student assistant that he wanted to kiss her. In addition, he is said to not have had the practical qualifications for the job because he is not computer literate.
The woman lodged a complaint to the Title IV coordinator and she says she was warned that she might be retaliated against if she pursued her complaint. The woman asked that Garrett cease with his behavior and he grew angry, saying that he always used these terms to describe women and they never protested. She also says that she felt she was qualified for the position that was given to Garrett in November of 2015, but she believed that the school preferred a man to have it. Multiple legal violations are alleged as part of the case.
When at work, there are certain behaviors that are illegal and should not be tolerated. Included are those that are considered sexual harassment. This can include comments, inappropriate touching, the showing of material that could be deemed offensive, and even overhearing another person who is being harassed. An attorney can help people in these situations, and can explain their options for filing a legal cause of action.
Source: ESPN, “Mike Garrett, USC Heisman winner, is accused of sexual harassment at Cal State L.A.,” Kyle Bonagura, Aug. 31, 2016