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8 school employees claim sexual harassment

Eight employees at a middle school in a recent out-of-state case sued their school district due to allegedly being sexually harassed. The employees specifically claimed that officials did not provide them with protection from a former colleague who was harassing them. Employers in Texas and elsewhere that allow sexual harassment to take place without taking steps to remedy the situation may be held liable.

According to the lawsuit in the out-of-state case, the former colleague took part in continued unwelcome and inappropriate sexual assessment towards the plaintiffs as well as multiple other district employees. This reportedly led to a work environment that the plaintiffs considered to be hostile. The alleged conduct also violated the plaintiffs' rights under the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment as well as Title VII.

The eight employees received $340,000 in their lawsuit. They were also awarded an extra $20,000 to go toward costs and attorney fees. Per the agreement, the district has to provide training on sexual harassment for all of its workers each year, and district administrators must also complete an annual training.

Employers in Texas are expected to create an environment where workers do not have to worry about dealing with ongoing sexual harassment. If they fail in this regard, employees who are harassed sexually -- for example, by being asked to complete a sexual favor as a condition of employment -- have the right to take legal action. In a workplace sexual harassment case, liability needs to be established to the satisfaction of the civil court hearing the case before claims for damages will be adjudicated.

Source: thespectrum.com, "ICSD pays $500,000 in sexual harassment settlement", Bree Burkitt, March 20, 2017

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