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Oklahoma dam organization settles sexual harassment suits

Employers have certain responsibilities to their employees under the law. One of the most important is to make certain that the work environment is free from hostility to any employee based upon his or her race, religion, ethnicity or gender.

Part and parcel of this duty is to ensure that there are no unwanted sexual advances made between employees or between managers and their workers. Thus, it is a bit disconcerting when the Chief Executive Officer of a company is alleged to have been a perpetrator of sexual harassment.

The Oklahoma-based Grand River Dam Authority, after a ten-month investigation, recently settled lawsuits brought by former female employees that claim that the CEO and another member of the organization sexually harassed them. They also filed claims for wrongful termination, possibly due to what they consider to have been retaliatory firing.

While the specifics of the claims have not been reported, it seems that the former Chief Operating Officer of the authority alleges he was forced out of the company due to his knowledge of improper advances made by the CEO against a female employee. A spokesman has said that the sexual harassment claims were settled for over $220,000, but that the wrongful termination claims have not been settled.

Going into a hostile environment each workday can cause all sorts of stress and depression-related symptoms. Employees do have rights, and it is important that they understand and take advantage of opportunities to exercise those rights. If one faces a pattern of discrimination or unwanted sexual advances or sexual remarks, one may wish to consult with a legal professional to determine if it is feasible to recover damages.

Source: insurancejournal.com, "Sexual Harassment Claims Against Oklahoma Group Settled," Judy Greenwald, Aug. 11, 2014

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