Most cases of sexual harassment end with either the victim or the harassers leaving the job or transferred to a different apartment. In one tragic case of harassment out of Illinois, job site sexual harassment escalated to the murder of a young woman. After initially having the case thrown out, the woman’s family is now allowed to sue Home Depot for failing to take adequate action to protect their daughter.
This case highlights why it is so critical for employers to take quick and serious action to address sexual harassment within their organization, even if the work site is a satellite business.
Sexual harassment does not often escalate to murder, but it can. Businesses should take claims of harassment, especially those where threats of violence occur, very seriously. Failing to do so could make the business liable for any harm that befalls the victim of the harassment.
If you or someone you love have been abused, assaulted or injured as a result of sexual harassment that was not addressed by the employer, you should speak with an experienced harassment and employment law attorney as soon as possible.
Pregnant woman harassed and later murdered by her supervisor
The victim and her murdered both worked at a garden center at a Home Depot store. There were three businesses involved, all of whom employed the murderer as a regional manager. The 21-year-old victim had been working as a seasonal employee for Home Depot for five years at the time of her murder. She reported the harassment to higher ups several times, but no actions were taken. She went so far as to ask to never be alone with the man who eventually murdered her. The company did nothing to protect the victim or penalize her harasser-turned-murdered. He regularly harassed her while working.
When she rejected his advances, he reportedly berated and threatened her in the company parking lot. Eventually, he allegedly used his position as her supervisor to force her to attend his sister’s wedding by threatening to fire her if she didn’t. The wedding was 300 miles away from where they worked. At the wedding, the victim, who was pregnant, was murdered and then raped. He was later sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.
Her family is now taking steps to hold Home Depot and the garden center accountable for failing to protect the victim, despite her repeated requests for intervention.
An attorney can help protect future workers
For many businesses, the expenses involved in terminating a manager and training a new one can be enough to prevent them from taking action in cases of serious harassment. There are certain steps you should take after experiencing harassment. One of the most important steps is to speak with a lawyer. Working with an attorney can help ensure your employer takes your concerns seriously.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001