Elected officials answer only to the public and hang on to their office despite the chance of huge damages awarded their victims at taxpayer’s cost. Officials are autonomous and are able to exercise greater latitude in matters of sexual harassment, hostile workplace or unusual sexual conduct. They can ignore calls to resign as long as they are not recalled by the public or disqualified by their peers. Employees answer to their employer. Organizational leaders tend to protect the organization over individuals employed by the organization.
What is harassment?
Any unwelcome advances of a sexual nature can be considered harassment. Simple comments, kidding, hazing, gestures, touching, posting of pictures whether public or private can be considered a hostile or offensive when it becomes frequent or severe.
San Diego mayor accused
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is accused of harassing former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, in a suit filed against the mayor and the City, as local television station KPBS reported a week ago. She said Filner liked to put her into a headlock and whisper sexually explicit comments in her ear, that he loved her, wanted to kiss her, wanted to see her naked and she should work without panties. She said he treated women as either sexual objects or idiots. She saw Filner “place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women.” Diane Feinstein suggested the following Sunday that Filner resign.
Filner takes a pass
Filner had responded on Friday by saying he would undergo “intensive counseling” for two-weeks but remain engaged with city business throughout and returning to office on August 19.
Three strike rule for a city council member
It took four years, but Fort Oglethorpe City Council finally conducted a four-hour hearing and voted unanimously to remove Charles Sharrock from his elected position. He was accused of groping a female city employee shortly after he took office in 2008. Sharrock and others were took the obligatory training as a remedy to complaints in 2008. His behaviors never changed, apparently. By the time Sharrock was ousted on November 27, 2012, at least two other women had complained prompting action by council members, according to the timesfreepress.com.
Anthony Weiner resigns within weeks of discovery
Congressman Weiner posted an unsolicited and indiscrete twitter picture on May 27, 2011. An individual forwarded the post to Andrew Breitbart who disclosed it the following day on his Big Government website. Public officials including the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States denounced this scandalous behavior and Weiner officially resigned on June 26.
Anthony Weiner runs again despite continued indiscretions
Less than a year since his resignation from Congress, Weiner is running for another office. He announced his candidacy for New York’s mayor with a YouTube video on May 23, 2013. Weiner revealed on July 25, 2013 he has continued his indiscrete behavior even after he leaving congress. Weiner is refusing to resign despite the urgings of top Democratic leaders such as national party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
One strike rule for most employers
Serious acts of sexual harassment are seldom tolerated in most organizations because there is a real threat of significant penalties for harassment. In the last three months, the EEOC has announced almost $23.7 million court awards for inappropriate sexual conduct in the workplace. Following is the date of the announcement, the amount of the award and the party sued in district court.
- 7/24/13, $302,500, Help at Home, Inc., Chicago, Ill.
- 7/11/13, $25,000 and provide substantial additional relief, Silver Diner, Lexington, N.C.
- 7/3/13, $65,000 and furnish other relief, Pacific Airport Services, Inc., Saipan, CNMI.
- 6/26/13, $370,000 and furnish other relief, The Original HoneyBaked Ham Company of Georgia.
- 6/17/13, $16,000, Home Companions Plus, Inc., Macon, Ga.
- 5/29/13, $150,000 Panda Express, Kauai, Hawaii.
- 5/28/13, $15,000, Joe-Ryan Enterprises, Inc., Birmingham, Ala.
- 5/22/13, $192,500, Grace Episcopal Church of Whitestone, Inc., Long Island, NY.
- 5/16/13, $650,000, National Food Corporation, Everett, Wash.
- 5/13/13, $150,000, River Point Farms, Hermiston, Ore.
- 5/10/13, $1.5 million, New Breed Logistics, Greensboro NC.
- 5/1/13, $20,251,963, Four Amigos Travel, Inc. and Top Dog Travel, Inc., a former Florida vacation agency with offices in Largo, Orlando and Lake Lauderdale, Fla.
The last two awards are not unusual. For example, a California federal court announced a $168 million award March 2, 2012. A Missouri federal court awarded $95 million in damages to a former Aaron’s Inc. employee. EEOC announced in June 29, 2013 an $11 million award to employees harassed at YRCC/Yellow Transportation Ends Chicago, Ill.