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California court system deals with victims of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment has no excuse in the workplace, and the last year brought new attention to the inappropriate practice that exist in many businesses, organizations and government entities in California. The fields of high-tech development, venture capital and even the State Assembly in Sacramento have all had to face allegations of misbehavior regarding some managers and officials.

The California court system has also created victims of sexual harassment, as new records show more than $500,000 in payments. These payments were made over seven years to resolve at least five complaints of inappropriate behavior by judges and staff. An additional sum approaching $80,000 went to investigating other allegations against judges.

One of the complaints against a superior court judge in Tulare County culminated in a lawsuit pressed by the judge's former court clerk. He apparently pressured the clerk to be his "special friend," using offensive language to present unwanted sexual advances. He also used gifts and cash to try and entice the clerk and later lied about this behavior to investigators.

Another superior court judge in Lassen County was accused by a court executive of screaming at female employees and embracing a defendant while court was in session. A presiding justice on the Court of Appeals was facing charges of sexual harassment, bigotry and discrimination when he retired.

Victims of any sort of sexual harassment in the workplace or public life may have a case in civil court. Results may include compensation for financial damages, disciplinary measures against a defendant and another voice in the rising tide against sexual harassment. An attorney can help victims assemble a case and set expectations for damages.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "California courts paid at least $500,000 to resolve sex harassment suits against judges and employees," Maura Dolan, March 24, 2018

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