There are three basic types of harassment: verbal, physical, and visual.
Verbal harassment is the most common type, especially because of technology and social media. Physical harassment can be as simple as a gesture or facial expression. It doesn’t always involve unwanted touching. Visual harassment usually comes in the form of pictures or illustrations.
Sometimes people joke around, especially when they worked together daily for several years. They may even prank each other from time to time.
A prank doesn’t constitute harassment. But, there’s a line where jokes become harassment…which is not good.
Jokes and pranks turn into harassment and become problematic, break the law, and open up the situation to lawsuits when…
The place of employment tolerates the harassing behavior
The harassment makes the workplace intolerable when it becomes severe and frequent
Any reasonable could consider the harassment intimidating, antagonistic, and unwelcome
It doesn’t matter how the harassment takes place. Federal, state, and local laws protect victims of harassment and help them find justice.
The average harassment lawsuit leads to a settlement of around $50,000 in monetary compensation. But, each harassment case is different.
The news covered many workplace harassment lawsuit settlements. Below are eight unique, real-world workplace harassment lawsuits.
Table of Contents
McDonalds - July 2022
Konos Inc - May 2022
Long John Silver - March 2022
Activision Blizzard - March 2022
Saint Clare’s Health - March 2022
Eureka Stone Quarry - February 2022
Ranew’s Management Company - February 2022
McDonald's - July 2022
In New England, Mr. Coughlin was in charge of operations at ten different McDonald’s Inc franchise locations.
In 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Coughlin. The lawsuit claimed a manager in one of the franchises harassed male and female workers for over five years.
If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What did this person do to these poor employees?”
The manager made lewd comments to, grabbed and bit the employees.
The location finally fired the manager in 2019. The last straw happened when a male employee’s parents went to the police about how the manager hit the employee between the legs.
The Vermont Attorney General’s office joined the investigation into the case in 2021. They accused Coughlin of violating state anti-discrimination laws.
The workplace harassment lawsuit settlements required Coughlin to pay up to $1,200,000 to workers harassed by the manager in question. The agency identified at least ten people eligible for payouts and they expect more people to come forward. Coughlin will need to pay an additional $125,000 in penalties to the state.
Konos Inc - May 2022
The EEOC charged Konos INC, an egg producer located in Michigan, with violating federal law.
The company subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment. They also charged the company with retaliation against the employee because of her complaint.
According to the lawsuit, a male supervisor made sexual advances toward a subordinate female employee. The supervisor allegedly sexually assaulted her. This led to criminal prosecution and the conviction of the supervisor.
Despite the employee’s complaints and the seriousness of the conduct, Konos failed to take appropriate action. The company retaliated against the employee by sending her home.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against any individual because of sex. It also protects employees from retaliation against employees who object to discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that applies to Title VII.
Due to this blatant violation, the workplace harassment lawsuit settlements made Konos pay $175,000 to the victim. In addition to monetary penalties, the company needs to provide…
Training on sexual harassment
Compliance-related reporting to the EEOC
S&C Electric Company - April 2022
S&C Electric Company deals with switch and control products for power transmission and distribution. The company’s headquarters are in Chicago.
The EEOC’s lawsuit accused S&C Electric Company of violating Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This section prohibits discrimination based on disability.
How did the company discriminate against someone’s disability?
A principal designer worked at S&C for over 52 years. The employee received a diagnosis of cancer and later broke a hip. With the medical conditions, he took a medical leave.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Following the long road to recovery, the employee attempted to return to his former position. He provided many doctor notes indicating he could return to his former position.
How did the company discriminate in this situation?
S&C decided to fire the man instead of allowing him to return to work following a perfunctory medical examination by an S&C contracted doctor.
The workplace harassment lawsuit settlements included an 18-month settlement decree. S&C will pay $315,000 to the victim’s estate. The company is also required to maintain and provide the EEOC with records of each terminated employee at its Chicago facility. This came after attempting to return to work following medical leave and making a complaint.
In addition, S&C will need to provide two training courses conducted by an independent organization to managers. All employees responsible for HR and medical evaluations must also have training. The training needs to cover their obligations under the ADA.
Long John Silver - March 2022
The EEOC charged Long John Silver with violating federal laws. The company subjected a teenage female employee at its Centralia, Illinois restaurant to sexual harassment.
The lawsuit states that the company failed to stop two male managers from harassing the employee. It’s also alleged that Long John Silver retaliated against the teenage employee when she objected to the harassment.
The two adult male managers harassed the teenager through...
propositions for sex
sexually explicit text messages and videos
The company refused to investigate the situation after she filed a complaint and reduced her hours as a result.
This situation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The filing occurred on June 25, 2021, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through a conciliation process.
The workplace harassment lawsuit settlements involved a two-year consent decree. It requires the company to…
Pay $200,000 to the former employee
Provide harassment prevention policies and training in Title VII’s prohibition on sexual harassment and retaliation.
Post notices regarding the settlement
Report periodically to the EEOC for sex discrimination complaints received during the two-year decree
Activision Blizzard - March 2022
The EEOC filed a complaint in September 2021 after a several-year-long investigation. The investigation revealed that employees at Activision Blizzard endured severe sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. The company allegedly also engaged in retaliation against employees who complained.
In March 2022, a California judge publicly announced that she will approve a settlement between the company and the EEOC. Workplace harassment lawsuit settlements included an $18,000,000 fund for eligible claimants employed by the company starting in September 2016.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) also filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard regarding…
Equal pay violations
According to the paperwork filed with the courts, the DFEH attempted to intervene in the case. However, the judge denied the request.
Lastly, Activision Blizzard is facing another investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is looking into how the company handled sexual harassment and discrimination complaints.
Saint Clare's Health - March 2022
Saint Clare’s Health hired a pregnant candidate to file for a per diem EMS dispatcher position at a New Jersey facility located in Dover. A few days before the lady’s start date, she became sick and went to the hospital. While hospitalized, she received a diagnosis of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related impairment affecting the circulatory system.
Soon after diagnosis, the employee contacted Saint Claire’s HR department to discuss her illness and what she needed to do now that the situation changed. The healthcare company responded by withdrawing her job offer despite her only needing the minor accommodation of delaying her start date by several days.
This response from Saint Claire’s Health violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires that employees engage with applicants and employees to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities. It prohibits employers from taking adverse action against qualified applicants and employees based on their disability.
As a result, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in the U.S District Court for the District of New Jersey after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The workplace harassment lawsuit settlements provided $77,550 in lost wages and other damages.
It also provides significant non-monetary relief designed to prevent further discrimination. This includes…
An injunction prohibiting Saint Clare's Health from discriminating against employees and candidates for employment based on disability
This includes pregnancy-related impairments
Updates to the company’s internal policies
Mandatory training for Saint Clare’s Health employees about federal anti-discrimination laws
Report to the EEOC on any internal complaints of disability discrimination or receives for the next 2.5 years
Eureka Stone Quarry - February 2022
Eureka Stone Quarry Inc. is a company engaged in mining and sales of sand, stone, and other materials in eastern Pennsylvania. Within the company, an African American heavy equipment operator endured egregious racial harassment from coworkers. This harassment lasted several years. This included…
Threats of violence directed at the Black Lives Matter movement
Other statements reflecting racial bias and stereotypes
As time passed, the harassment increased and became more severe. The situation eventually peaked when the worker received threats with firearms. One incident involved a harasser firing multiple shots from a rifle on company property near the location of the African American worker. Shots were also tired not long after he drove past the harasser.
According to the lawsuit filed by the EEOC, Eureka Stone was aware of the racial harassment. The company failed to take action to stop it from occurring. This forced the victim to resign from employment.
This series of incidents, actions, and lack of action violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed a lawsuit under Title VII in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The EEOC tried to reach a pre-litigation settlement before filing suit.
Eureka Stone subsequently agreed to an early settlement of the lawsuit without any federal court adjudication of liability issues in the case. The EEOC opted to dismiss claims against a second defendant, James D. Morrissey, Inc.
The workplace harassment lawsuit settlements included Eureka Stone Quarry paying the former African American employee $58,000 in monetary relief.
The decree also requires the company to implement measures, such as…
Revised anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures
Anti-harassment and investigations training
Appointing a company equal employment opportunity officer
This person is responsible for investigating and remedying potential harassment and processing full authority to carry out those responsibilities
Reporting the EEOC of all future complaints of…
Investigations of those complaints
Remedial actions taken
Ranew's Management Company - February 2022
Ranew’s Management Company is a local, state, and national fabrication, coating, and assembly products provider. The incident in question occurred in a facility located in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to a lawsuit filed by the EEOC, Ranew’s violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law prohibits a company from discriminating against an individual based on disability.
So what exactly happened?
An employee informed the company that he recently received a diagnosis of severe depression. Due to his mental health, his doctor recommended that he take three weeks off of work, which he tried to request. The CEO of the company told the employee to take as much time as he needed to get well.
Sounds like a caring employer, right?
Six weeks later, the employee tried to return to work with a paper from his doctor allowing him to return to work. However, the CEO said he couldn't trust the employee to complete the tasks of his job. The CEO proceeded to fire the man.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division. They first tried to reach a pre-litigation settlement, to no avail.
The workplace harassment lawsuit settlements involved a payment of $250,000 in monetary damages to the employee. The company also agreed to reporting, monitoring, training, creating, and distributing ADA policies and notice posting.
The EEOC has multiple offices across the country. Each office is responsible for processing charges of employment discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation within each office’s jurisdiction.
After the EEOC helps victims file a harassment lawsuit, the potential settlement will depend on the unique set of circumstances. Workplace harassment lawsuit settlements also depend on the extent and severity of the harassment.
At the end of the day, harassment is never acceptable. If someone endures harassment at work, the at-fault party or the employer can face a lawsuit. Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment. They should never have to fear their coworkers or superiors.
If you are uncomfortable or the workplace environment is intolerable due to harassment of any kind, you have the right to file a complaint. You also have the right to potentially pursue compensation.
What is the average settlement amount for a hostile workplace? ›
What Exactly Is the Average Settlement Amount for Harassment Lawsuits? On average, harassment lawsuits can settle for around $50,000. Remember, every harassment case is different. Yours could end up with a lot more depending on how severe your case is and how extensive your damages are.What is a real world example of workplace harassment? ›
Workplace Harassment Examples
Sending emails with offensive jokes or graphics about race or religion. Repeatedly requesting dates or sexual favors in person or through text. Asking about family history of illnesses or genetic disorders. Making derogatory comments about someone's disability or age.
To win a harassment case, you must prove that you have been harassed. To prove this, you must show how the workplace is a hostile environment. What's important to understand is that it is not enough for you to feel the workplace is hostile or abusive; any reasonable person would feel harassed in the same workplace.What makes a strong harassment case? ›
Typically, if you hope to have a successful harassment lawsuit, the harassment must be so consistent or severe enough that any reasonable individual would consider it intentionally hostile or abusive in nature.What is the biggest payout in a lawsuit? ›
Number 1: The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement is also the biggest civil litigation settlement in US history. At USD246 billion, it is unlikely to be beaten any time soon. The case was brought against all the major tobacco companies by more than 40 US states.
- $2.2 Billion Pharmacist Medical Malpractice in Kansas. ...
- $2 Billion Monsanto Roundup Case in California. ...
- $1.1 Billion Drunk Driving Accident Case in North Dakota. ...
- $60 Million Train Derailment Case. ...
- $38 Million Hyundai Motors Co.
“psychological harassment” means. (a) any vexatious behaviour in the form of hostile, inappropriate and unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that affects an employee's dignity or psychological or physical integrity and that results in a harmful workplace for the employee, and.What are 3 actions to take if you're experiencing workplace harassment? ›
- Document what's happening to you.
- Tell someone.
- Get help from an attorney.
- File a complaint.
As with every criminal offense, the prosecution bears the burden of proof in stalking and harassment cases. That burden is "beyond a reasonable doubt" with respect to each essential element of the offense.What is proof of hostile work environment? ›
The crux of proving a hostile work environment case is evidence of the harassment. You should preserve any e-mails or voicemails that demonstrate harassing language. These communications do not have to take place at home, as any harassing treatment that extends from the workplace to your home qualifies as evidence.
Can I quit my job due to hostile work environment? ›
Based on the California labor laws, all employees are protected from being fired or forced to quit due to a hostile workplace.What are the five D's of harassment? ›
Hollaback's "5 D's" (Direct, Distract, Delay, Delegate, Document) are different methods that bystanders can use to support someone who is being harassed, emphasize that harassment is not okay, and demonstrate to people in your life that they too have the power to make our communities and workplaces safer.Why is harassment so difficult to prove? ›
Why Harassment Is Hard to Prove. Even if you are enduring blatant harassment from a superior or coworker, proving your case may be harder than you originally anticipated. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the perpetrators of these incidents can make their offenses as subtle or overt as they want.What is considered severe harassment? ›
Harassment is severe if it is conduct that goes beyond the boundaries of appropriate workplace behavior. Harassment is persistent if it is ongoing, continuous, and/or repeated.At what stage do most lawsuits settle? ›
When to Litigate and When to Settle. It is well known within the legal world that most cases settle before they ever get to trial. Generally, less than 3% of civil cases reach a trial verdict. So, around 97% of cases are resolved by means other than trial.What to do with a $100000 settlement? ›
- Understand the Tax Implications. ...
- Get a Good Financial Advisor. ...
- Pay Off Debt and Save. ...
- Invest in Education. ...
- Invest in Your Home. ...
- Donate to Charity. ...
- Invest in Business, Friends, or Family. ...
- Enjoy Yourself!
A personal injury settlement amount is based on the facts of each case. The type and severity of injury, emotional harm suffered, cost of going to trial and many other factors are considered by both sides. Often the settlement amount will be less than the plaintiff hoped for but more than the defendant hoped for.What is the usual result of a settlement? ›
Generally, when a settlement agreement is reached, the responsible party pays an amount to compensate for the “damages,” or losses, their negligence caused the victim.How long does it take to get money from a class action settlement? ›
The average time it takes to process a settlement check is between one and six weeks. However, it can take several months for you to receive just compensation. If you hire one of the experienced attorneys from Morgan & Morgan, you should not have to wait six weeks to receive your settlement check.What are examples of out of court settlements? ›
For example, imagine a case in which you are injured in a car accident. The other driver is at fault and agrees to pay you a certain amount of money through either their insurance company or out of pocket in order to settle the matter out of court.
How do you prove mental harassment? ›
You have to file 498A of IPC and Section 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act complaint with local police and they will collect evidence by way of statements of witnesses under Section 161 of Criminal Procedure Code.What mental symptoms might a victim of harassment experience? ›
Victims of psychological harassment may experience symptoms such as crying, depression, memory problems, despondency, irritability, agitation, lack of interest, isolation, lack of confidence and self-esteem, fatigue, sleep disorders, stomach problems, loss of appetite, back pain, sweating, dizziness, tremors and nausea ...What is vexatious behaviour? ›
4. A vexatious complaint is one that is pursued, regardless of its merits, solely to harass, annoy or subdue somebody; something that is unreasonable, without foundation, frivolous, repetitive, burdensome or unwarranted.How does HR handle harassment? ›
They will carefully look at the evidence and refer to the companies' anti-harassment or workplace policies. They will even investigate to see if the person who is having a claim filed against has any previous record of harassment. If your witnesses provided a written statement, these records will be looked at closely.What is indirect harassment? ›
This is because indirect harassment involves the harassment committed by an individual which does not directly affect another employee in particular. However, the act causes the workplace to become toxic and results in certain employees feeling marginalized or offended.What is the best defense against harassment? ›
Some possible defenses for harassment charges include : The defendant was acting under the influence of extreme emotional distress. The defendant had reasonable cause to believe that his actions were necessary to protect himself or another person. The defendant acted in self-defense.What not to say in an HR investigation? ›
From a practical standpoint, talking too much during the investigation—telling a witness what another witness said, revealing your personal opinion to one of the employees involved, or publicizing the complaint in the workplace, for example—can lead others to doubt your objectivity.How long does HR have to investigate a complaint? ›
An HR department typically takes three days to a week to investigate a complaint. The time frame can depend upon your specific company and its HR department, what the complaint pertains to, and how many witnesses or relevant employees need to be interviewed to complete the investigation.What are the two types of harassment claims? ›
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there are two types of sexual harassment claims: "quid pro quo" and "hostile work environment." The EEOC provides guidance on defining sexual harassment and establishing employer liability.What a plaintiff must prove is largely determined by? ›
In civil litigation, a plaintiff must prove his or her case by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is defined as “that degree of proof which is more probable than not.” BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 819 (Abridged 6th ed.
What is the plaintiff's burden of proof? ›
In a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff or the person filing the suit. The plaintiff should prove that the allegations are true and that the defendant, or the other party, caused damages. When it comes to establishing a civil case, the plaintiff must usually do so by a preponderance of evidence.What must a plaintiff prove for a case of hostile work environment? ›
In order to establish a hostile work environment action, courts require that a plaintiff prove that the conduct that is causing the hostile work environment is severe and pervasive.Can a supervisor talk about you to other employees? ›
However, employers should also maintain strict confidentiality concerning employee status, pay, performance and medical related information to the extent possible. With few exceptions, employers shouldn't engage in discussions about other employees or disclosures concerning employees with their coworkers.What are intolerable working conditions? ›
Intolerable work conditions might include discrimination or harassment, mistreatment, or receiving a cut in pay or job duties for reasons that aren't work-related. An employer can purposefully make work conditions intolerable to force the employee to resign.How much do you get for hostile work environment lawsuit? ›
It doesn't matter how the harassment takes place. Federal, state, and local laws protect victims of harassment and help them find justice. The average harassment lawsuit leads to a settlement of around $50,000 in monetary compensation.Do you need proof of a hostile work environment? ›
A workplace becomes “hostile” when harassment based on a protected characteristic is so pervasive that it is abusive. To prove that your work environment is hostile, you will need to gather sufficient evidence of the offensive conduct and report it to a governmental agency.What are the three types of hostile work environment? ›
Elements of a hostile work environment include:
Intimidating environment. Offensive behavior. Physical or mental abuse.
In most cases, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor seeks sexual favors from a worker in return for some type of job benefit — such as a raise, better hours, promotion, etc. — or to avoid some type of detriment like a pay cut, demotion, poor performance review, etc.What is verbalized harassment? ›
“Verbal harassment is language that targets and harms another person, usually in an emotional or psychological sense. Calling someone by name, making them feel useless, or lowering a person`s self-esteem can be a form of verbal harassment.What behaviors are considered harassment? ›
Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.
Is it hard to prove workplace harassment? ›
Unfortunately, one of the reasons it is so pervasive is that it is so hard to prove. Proof can be extremely important in such cases for many reasons. It can make it harder for harassers to deny their behavior and avoid consequences. It can also make it harder for a business to simply ignore the behavior or cover it up.What is the burden of proof in workplace investigations? ›
The applicable standard of proof in most workplace investigations is the preponderance of the evidence. This standard requires that the investigator be at least 51 per cent sure that the allegations are true. Your job as an investigator is to gather proof.What makes a strong retaliation case? ›
A strong retaliation case must show 3 things: An employee faced discrimination or harassment in the workplace. They reported the incident. The employee was then fired, demoted, or otherwise punished for their complaint.What is the maximum sentence for harassment? ›
If the offence is harassment (putting people in fear of violence) or stalking (involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress): the maximum sentence is 10 years' custody.Is yelling considered harassment? ›
Threatening you or your property, yelling, and using insulting or offensive language can all qualify as verbal harassment. In general, harassment refers to repeated behavior rather than a passing remark. Victims of verbal harassment can suffer from significant emotional distress and even develop mental health problems.How much money is an employment discrimination case worth? ›
Under Title VII, the ADA, and certain other laws, the maximum amount of emotional distress and punitive damages that an employee can recover is $300,000; Note, however, that certain laws like Section 1981 and related state laws do not limit the amount that can be awarded for emotional distress and punitive damages; and.What are the damages for hostile work environment? ›
The settlement for a hostile work environment case will typically cover for damages like a loss of wages, a potential loss of future wages, emotional distress, and in some rare instances, medical expenses billed for treating injuries inflicted by an abusive employer.What happens when you claim hostile work environment? ›
An employee with a complaint of a hostile working environment may decide to contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor. This is a step required before filing a formal complaint. Often the EEO counselor will attempt to mediate and resolve the situation. Your records will help in the discussion.How do you calculate employee settlement amount? ›
Calculated as the number of days of compensation multiplied by the gross salary divided by 26 (Avg. number of working days per month). Non-availed leaves & bonuses: Non-availed leaves and any bonus or credits, which as per the Company policy, can be encashed by the employee during the settlement.What are the odds of winning a discrimination case? ›
EEOC cases can be challenging, but you are best equipped to win with experienced legal representation. 95% of EEOC district court cases are successful.
Are discrimination lawsuits hard to win? ›
But for workers who want to sue their employers for discrimination, the odds are especially challenging. For example, in federal court from 1979 to 2006, plaintiffs in non-employment law cases won 51% of the time.What is a typical settlement in an EEOC mediation? ›
So what is the typical EEOC mediation settlement amount? According to the agency, the average settlement for workplace discrimination claims is approximately $40,000. However, some discrimination claims are worth much more.Can I sue someone for emotional damage? ›
It is possible to sue for emotional distress, although these claims rarely stand alone. For example, you may have suffered a physical injury in a motoring accident, where part of your claim is for psychological suffering resulting from that injury.How do you prove emotional distress at work? ›
Generally, you must prove that your employer acted intentionally or recklessly; your employer's conduct was extreme and outrageous; your employer's actions directly caused your emotional distress and your emotional stress was severe.How do I prove a hostile work environment? ›
The crux of proving a hostile work environment case is evidence of the harassment. You should preserve any e-mails or voicemails that demonstrate harassing language. These communications do not have to take place at home, as any harassing treatment that extends from the workplace to your home qualifies as evidence.Can I sue for a toxic work environment? ›
Yes, you can sue your employer for emotional distress caused by workplace harassment, discrimination, or a toxic work environment. What is emotional distress? Emotional distress is mental anguish caused by offensive, threatening, or demeaning behavior at work.How much of a settlement is taxable? ›
The general rule regarding taxability of amounts received from settlement of lawsuits and other legal remedies is Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 61. This section states all income is taxable from whatever source derived, unless exempted by another section of the code.What do you get in full and final settlement? ›
The full and final settlement consist of clearance of dues towards an employee upon their exit from the company. It includes the salary drawn, leave encashment, reimbursements, variables etc.How long does full and final settlement take? ›
The new wage code says a company must pay the full and final settlement of wages within two days of an employee's last working day following their resignation, dismissal or removal from employment and services.