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Part of harassment claim returned to lower court

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a Circuit Court judge erred in his judgement and returned part of a harassment case back to the lower courts. The former hospital employee filed a lawsuit after she claimed that she was retaliated against for making a sexual harassment complaint against a doctor. The original lawsuit contained eight counts. Four of those counts will be reconsidered.

According to court documents, the hospital is accused of wrongly firing the woman after she complained about harassment that occurred in 2005 and 2006. She says that she was subjected to intimidation, unwarranted disciplinary action, defamatory statements and wrongful termination. The complaint named the hospital and the doctor.

In 2011, a Circuit Court judge entered a summary judgment against her and ordered her to pay. The appeals court upheld that decision. Though the high court upheld the dismissal of four counts based on timing, redundancy and lack of supporting facts, the lower court will have to reconsider the counts of retaliatory discrimination, common law wrongful discharge, sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge.

When an employee reports sexual harassment, federal laws forbid retaliation against them based on their complaint. Employee who are wrongfully discharged or subjected to intimidation or other disciplinary actions as a result of their report have the option of using the legal system to hold the employer responsible for their actions. An attorney with experience in employment law may be able to help an employee file a lawsuit and present their case to a judge. If the judgement is appealed, a lawyer may represent the employee throughout the legal process. Sometimes this means taking the case to the Supreme Court.

Source: Southeast Missourian, "State high court upholds part of harassment suit", August 28, 2013

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