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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Disabled California employer sued for sexual harassment

A quadriplegic man who practices law out of his home required his female legal assistants to learn how to care for him on a personal level before allowing them to perform legal assistant duties. He required the employees to learn how to get him out of bed and take off his clothes as well as put him in a swimming suit for him to use a hot tub. They had to know how to do these tasks in case the man's personal assistant was not available, according to the lawsuit.

Not surprisingly, they felt uncomfortable caring for their employer in such an intimate manner. However, they were afraid to express their feelings out of fear of being fired. The employees have now expressed their feelings in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the employer.

The women allege that the man committed other discriminatory acts as well. One of the legal assistants whose responsibility was evaluating resumes and conducting interviews said that the employer did not allow her to interview males, unattractive females or anyone over the age of 30, despite their credentials. The employer suspended and ultimately fired this particular employee after she complained about many of the allegations that are present in this lawsuit.

This man's alleged actions could be grounds for sexual harassment if he humiliated these women by making them learn how to take care of him in such a personal manner before allowing them to perform the duties of a legal assistant. Additionally, firing the employee who complained about the employer's workplace conduct may also be unlawful retaliation. Those who have lost a job due to or believe they were subject to sexual discrimination can speak to an attorney to learn if they have legal grounds to file suit against their employers.

Source: Tahoe Daily Tribune, "Disabled ADA attorney accused of sexual harassment by four ex-employees," Axie Navas, Oct. 4, 2012

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