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April 17, 1998
EMPLOYMENT LAW
Sexual Harassment
Retaliation

   

SETTLEMENT:

 

$140,000.

CASE/NUMBER:

 

Case I.D. Confidential.

COURT/DATE:

 

American Arbitration Association / February 6, 1998.

MEDIATOR:

 

Deborah Rothman.

ATTORNEYS:

 

Plaintiff - William Cort (Da Corsi & Cort, Sherman Oaks).
Defendant - Angel Gomez (Katten, Muchin & Zavis, Los Angeles).

FACTS:

 

The plaintiff in this case was a manager in the defendant's 400+ employee company and had been employed with the defendant since 1987. In 1994, the defendant hired a female manager in another department. Six months later, the plaintiff complained to the CEO of the company that the female manger was sexually harassing him. The CEO investigated and, while finding no evidence of harassment, counseled both to avoid interacting with one another. Weeks before his September 1994 termination, the plaintiff was sent by the CEO to a three-week, out-of-state training program. Shortly after his return, the plaintiff lost his temper in a meeting and insulted another employee, for which he was required to apologize. The CEO then suggested that plaintiff take some time off from work. When the plaintiff returned to work he was terminated. The plaintiff brought this action based on breach of oral agreement not to terminate without good cause, hostile environment sexual harassment under FEHA and retaliatory termination for having complained of sexual harassment.

CONTENTIONS:

 

The plaintiff contended that the female manager stared, touched him and sexually propositioned him, and that even after he complained to the CEO of the company, nothing changed. The plaintiff also contended that two months later, the female manager showed him that she had his picture in a locket around her neck, at which time he again complained to the CEO; and later that same day he was terminated, notwithstanding the fact that he was an excellent employee who had received no written criticism, nor had he received any unusual amount of job-related verbal criticism.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff sexually harassed the female manager, inviting her to spend time with him out of town and suggesting she buy a condo close to work. The defendant also contended that the quality of the plaintiff's work had been steadily declining, resulting in demotions, compensation decreases, removal of responsibility, and frequent verbal criticism from the CEO. The defendant further contended that the plaintiff had only complained the one time about the harassment, and that the CEO determined to terminate the plaintiff as a result of the plaintiff having insulted the employee at the company meeting.

INJURIES:

 

Plaintiff alleged emotional distress.

SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS:

 

The plaintiff made a settlement demand for $350,000. The defendant made not initial settlement.

MEDIATION:

 

A mediation was held on February 6, 1998, before Deborah Rothman, resulting in the reported settlement.

OTHER INFORMATION:

 

The defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted by the trial court and reversed on appeal. The case had been set for trial on February 23, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Daily Journal Corp. Reprinted with Permission.

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