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Company ordered to pay damages in harassment suit

The U.S. Equality Employment Opportunity Commission has sued the Help at Home company after three Missouri workers were allegedly terminated for reporting sexually inappropriate behavior. As a result of the sexual harassment suit, Help at Home has been ordered to pay $302,500 in damages to all three former employees.

The incident began when a manager at the company's Hillsboro, Missouri office made sexual remarks that offended her coworkers. In addition, she is said to have had inappropriate sexual contact with her girlfriend while they were in the work area. When the employees in question complained to their superiors, they were systematically fired over the course of the next few months.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not always overt. While unwanted sexual advances and offensive sexual comments certainly qualify as sex discrimination, a hostile work environment can be created through less obvious means. It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment.

An attorney may be able to counteract sexual harassment in the workplace and unlawful terminations by thoroughly investigating the nature and circumstances of an employee's termination. He or she may wish to review an organization's policies regarding harassment to ensure compliance with state and federal law or interview employees familiar with the case who can corroborate the victim's claims. As noted above, many people lack awareness about what constitutes harassment and may unwittingly accept behavior that qualifies. A lawyer may advocate on their client's behalf to establish that harassment has in fact occurred and help them receive any restitution to which they're entitled.

Source: St. Louis Today, "Home health firm settles Hillsboro sexual harassment claims with EEOC", Lisa Brown, July 24, 2013

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