Feb. 2011: Madia Law defeats summary judgment motion and settles case on behalf of sexual harassment victim

by Ashwin Madia, Attorney on February 18, 2011Ashwin Madia, Attorney

Madia Law represented “Jennifer” (name changed for confidentiality reasons), a young woman who was sexually harassed by her supervisor of a period of months. Jennifer’s supervisor:

  • repeatedly bragged to her about his sexual endurance;
  • made vulgar comments about her physical appearance;
  • turned innocent conversations into sexual innuendo;
  • told Jennifer that she should leave her fiancee to be with him;
  • told Jennifer to perform lap dances for him as he waived $20 bills at her;
  • repeatedly invaded Jennifer’s personal space;
  • insisted that Jennifer view pornography that he kept on his palm pilot phone; and
  • suggested that Jennifer wear a thong to work.

Even though this supervisor had engaged in sexual harassment at previous jobs, he was still hired.  When Jennifer complained about the sexual harassment, she was terminated.

Madia Law sued the supervisor and Jennifer’s employer for sexual harassment under the Minnesota Human Rights Act in Ramsey County District Court.  The MHRA defines sexual harassment to include:  unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

1) submission to that conduct is made a term or condition – either explicitly or implicitly – of employment;

2) submission to or rejection of that conduct is used as a factor when making decision’s regarding an individual’s employment; or

3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment environment.

The conduct described in (1) and (2) has been characterized as “quid pro quo” harassment, while that described in (3) is often referenced as “hostile work environment.”

In this case, Jennifer had arguably been victimized under all three criteria.  Though the defendants fought the case tooth and nail for almost two years, they ultimately settled for several hundred thousand dollars after losing their motion for summary judgment.

Please note that every case is different, with its own unique facts. Just because Jennifer received a large settlement in her case does not mean that you will obtain the same amount in your case. You should contact Madia Law to discuss your race discrimination case in detail and get an accurate assessment of its value.

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