Four employees of UCLA, a California university well-known to residents of the greater San Diego area, have sued the school alleging that their sexual harassment claims against a former supervisor were not taken seriously.
Beginning in 2016, the supervisor slapped the women’s bottoms and also rubbed their thighs and made inappropriate comments to the employees. The university terminated the supervisor, who was also female, in 2017 in the wake of the women’s allegations against her.
Even though the perpetrator ultimately got fired, the women’s position is that it was too little, too late. In particular, one of the women reported the misconduct to another supervisor in late 2016, but no action was taken.
The women believe that because this harassment involved female-on-female misconduct, the university just did not take the allegation seriously. The women also alleged that the university’s internal reporting process was mismanaged and cited to the fact that while all four women suffered from the supervisor’s conduct, three of the four were listed as witnesses.
The women are seeking more than $120 million in damages.
This case illustrates that both men and women can be perpetrators or victims of sexual harassment. Everyone who is employed at a government institution, in this case, a college, has the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment. If this right is violated, then victims have the right to pursue various types of damages as well as other relief.
However, victims of sexual harassment still have to meet several legal criteria and follow the necessary steps before they will be able to get justice through either California’s or the federal government’s justice system. For this reason, it may be advisable for a victim of sexual harassment to consult with an experienced employment law attorney.