California firefighter claims sexual harassment, makes EEOC claim

Employees have the right to a safe and non-threatening work environment. Here in California and elsewhere, that means that any harassment or discrimination they experience relating to their gender, religion, sexual orientation, race or other factor will not be tolerated. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission exists to assist employees who have endured any type of discrimination on the job. Filing an EEOC claim regarding employment discrimination is necessary before proceeding with any potential litigation. One firefighter says she recently experienced harassment of a sexual nature during her job and has filed two EEOC claims against her former place of work.

The firefighter has not disclosed the precise events that she says occurred at her place of work, but she filed one claim of sexual harassment and one for unemployment with the EEOC. The city is cooperating with the firefighter’s representatives, who have requested that communications -- such as email or other correspondence -- that may relate to her in any way are not tampered with or deleted. The city has notified its employees of this request and says that it is making preparations for facing a possible civil claim.

Since the firefighter's EEOC claim was filed, representatives for the city she worked for said they plan to conduct their own independent investigation to determine if her claims of sexual harassment have merit. The city could decide to challenge her claim outright -- meaning she could then file a lawsuit against the city -- or settle it. If she does end up proceeding with a lawsuit, she could be entitled to damages that would be awarded on the basis of her claim.

Those here in California who find themselves in a similar situation to this firefighter might decide that pursuing litigation is in their best interest. Filing an EEOC claim is the first step. If litigation follows and is successful, it could help compensate the wronged employee for any lost wages or other expenses they might have incurred due to the discrimination they experienced.

Source: Petaluma360.com, "Sexual harassment suit looms for city", Emily Charrier, July 31, 2014

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