Legal Question in Sexual Harassment in Georgia

Multiple victims; friendly, sexually-charged work environment.

Seven women in my department at work have lodged complaints to HR against a male coworker for sexual harassment. He is black; we are all white. HR interviewed each of us. We got the feeling the interviewer (also male) did not take our claims seriously. The offender was suspended for 2 weeks but then allowed to come back to work with us. We were promised if there was another incident, he would be terminated. There was another incident, he was reported, he was not terminated. He's still working in the same department. The excuse we are given is that ''our behavior'' in the department is so sexually oriented (we joke around alot w/ each other) that we can't expect them to discipline the true offender. We work in a busy ER & it's our way of relieving stress. The offender isn't actually an employee of the ER but a psychiatric evaluator that comes when we need him...which is all the time. HR is afraid he'll pull the ''race card'' if they push the issue. We are very uncomfortable working with him.

Asked on 8/14/06, 7:09 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Anne Gbenjo The Gbenjo Law Group

Re: Multiple victims; friendly, sexually-charged work environment.

Let us know if all the women are willing to proceed with the case. You may call us at7137714775. Otherwise we'll give you a number with a 404 area code.

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Answered on 8/14/06, 9:08 pm

Price Carroll The Carroll Law Firm

Re: Multiple victims; friendly, sexually-charged work environment.

In the first several years of my practice, I represented large hospitals (in B'ham, Montgomery, Atlanta, and Panama City) in discrimination/harassment cases, so I am familiar with sexual harassment cases in that type of working environment. As you and I know, the atmosphere in surgery rooms and ERs is like no other working environment--i.e., often there is all types of employee/physician banter to "lighten" the mood--but that does not excuse unlawful sexual harassment. If you have been unlawfully harassed, you (and the other women in the ER department) have the right to seek relief before the EEOC and eventually the federal court system.

If you would like my assistance, please feel free to call me or send me an email at [email protected]

My practice today focuses on representing employees in employment-related matters. I graduated from Emory University School of Law, and I am licensed to practice law in Alabama and Georgia. (I know Cave Spring is on the Alabama/Georgia line.)

Price Carroll

Required Disclaimer: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(e).

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Answered on 8/14/06, 9:53 pm
Scott Riddle Law Office of Scott B. Riddle, LLC

Re: Multiple victims; friendly, sexually-charged work environment.

You didn't provide any details of the alleged harassment, though interestingly you did provide some details of how you and your co-workers "relieve stress." Yes, it certainly may be a defense if the other person is only participating in the same kind of banter as you and the others. It also may be a reason that the HR rep did not take the claims seriously, which is understandable if you also participate in the same conduct. From their perspective, an appropriate response would be to cut out ALL such conduct, because there is always the chance that someone other than the players in this incident may be filing complaints against all of you. Obviously, many lawyers are ready and willing to file lawsuits, and you may very well have a legitimate claim, but it stands out from your posts that you have to justify your own behavior and that is an issue.

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Answered on 8/15/06, 6:57 am

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