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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Cal State pays $2.75 million to settle sexual harassment claims

A former female athletic department official at Cal State Los Angeles recently received a $2.75 million settlement from the university. The woman alleged that the ex-athletic department director violated the California Fair Housing Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by committing acts of sexual harassment.

FEHA is the primary statute in California that prohibits sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, FEHA prohibits employment discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, pregnancy and several other factors.

Additionally, employees are protected from sexual discrimination under Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the law, the following acts can be considered forms of sexual harassment:

  • Making sexual advances without the consent of another person
  • Asking someone to perform sexual favors
  • "Verbal or physical conduct" involving sex

In the recent case, the plaintiff alleged the ex-director referred to women using "sexist names such as 'sweetheart,' 'love' and 'babe.'" Additionally, she claimed that the ex-director did not react favorably to her when she confronted him about the issue.

Additionally, the plaintiff also claimed that women in the department were paid less than men in similar positions. While a few other women also claimed the ex-director recorded them without their consent, they agreed to drop the charges following the settlement.

Facing discrimination in the workplace can be devastating and can cause a person to experience serious emotional distress. However, proving it can be complicated. If you are experiencing unlawful discrimination, consult with an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your options

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