Employers have a responsibility to ensure that their staff are able to feel safe and comfortable in the workplace. Unfortunately, some are negligent in this duty, while others go as far as to abuse their power, causing physical or emotional harm to their employees. Sadly, California is no exception and many employees experience sexual harassment at work, or are subjected to a hostile work environment.
In Texas, a surgical nurse has been fighting back after a co-worker allegedly assaulted her at work. During the incident, which she claims took place in October 2012, the co-worker allegedly pulled her into a darkened bathroom. According to the report, he then subjected her to unwanted sexual contact while she attempted to fight him off.
The accused was arrested in December 2012 and subsequently charged with sexual assault. However, it was ultimately ruled that there was not enough evidence for a trial to take place. Meanwhile, the nurse attempted to transfer to a different facility. However, her request was rejected and in April 2013 her position was terminated.
She is now seeking a $1 million settlement from the hospital in a wrongful termination lawsuit. She feels that the hospital failed in its duty to protect her and other female employees. She says that it did not act quickly enough in response to her complaint. She also accuses it of failing to do anything about the accused's alleged history of sexually harassing female employees.
It may have happened in another state, but employees in California can be just as much at risk. No one should have to endure unwanted sexual advances and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, an attorney can be a valuable ally. He or she can help you sort through the facts and advise you on how to proceed.
Source: Outpatient Surgery Magazine, "Was Nurse Fired for Reporting a Sexual Assault?," Daniel Cook, June 17, 2014