$250,000 -- Sexual Harassment of Young Woman Clerk at Large Grocery Chain by Supervisor --
Plaintiff in this case was a 22-year-old grocery clerk who alleged that she had been "raped" seven times by her supervisor. The supervisor admitted to the sexual relationship, but stated that they were boyfriend and girlfriend and that all of the sexual acts were fully consensual. The supermarket claimed that even though it had a policy against employees dating each other, it had no notice that the romantic relationship existed and that all of the sexual contact between the plaintiff and the defendant occurred off premises. Further, the plaintiff continued to voluntarily see the alleged perpetrator after each "rape" and that she actually went out of her way to arrange liaisons. For there to be a valid sexual harassment claim, a plaintiff must establish that the sexual contact was "unwelcome" and there was every reason to believe the contact was welcome in this case and that the only reason the plaintiff was now claiming "rape" was because her boyfriend and parents found out and they would have been angry and deserted her if they knew that the relationship with her supervisor was fully consensual.
The Law Offices of Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP was retained after an early effort to reach a settlement at mediation by a prior attorney failed. Constrained by the plaintiff's characterization of the seven sexual liaisons as "rapes," the law firm tried to rebuild credibility to the case.
By retaining experts who specialize in the field of sexual harassment, the law firm was able to establish that due to the power imbalance between the supervisor and the employee, including the supervisor's ability to have the employee fired and the fact that this was the employee's first job (she had worked at the supermarket since the age of 17) that it was impossible for the relationship to be consensual and that it was reasonable for the employee to consider herself "raped" even if to an objective observer, it was too strong a word. Further, the law firm was able to establish evidence that tended to prove that the supermarket had an anti-fraternization policy to prevent incidents just like this and the supermarket had failed to disseminate and enforce those policies. The firm focused the case on the perpetrator and the company, and away from the plaintiff.
RESULT: Settlement on behalf of plaintiff for $250,000.
*Many of the cases that Winer, McKenna & Burritt, LLP, has settled are highly confidential. In order to provide consumers with an accurate list of settlements, we have accurately stated the amount of the settlement and the facts of the case, but we have changed the location of the cases and the industry of the companies we have sued to make the identification of the actual company impossible.