Since 2010, Pennsylvania has paid $3.2 million in sexual harassment claims against state workers. The total involves approximately two dozen cases, although a financial settlement was not made in every situation. Additional cases are still pending.
State Departments with the Most Complaints
While the $3.2 million figure represents sexual harassment claims paid out for all types of state agencies, the majority of the cases stem from the state’s System of Higher Education and those departments in which employees report directly to the governor’s office. Those settlements make up $2.8 million of the total. The largest settlement of $900,000 went to a Department of Revenue employee who alleged that her supervisor sexually assaulted her and made racial slurs. The accused has pleaded no contest to the charges and is currently on probation.
Another large settlement went to a woman working for the Pennsylvania State Police. She received $435,000 after claiming she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and sexual harassment. The woman says she was touched inappropriately by state troopers, had comments made about her sex life, and was referred to in a sexually derogatory manner.
Women were not the only victims of sexual harassment. A male student received nearly $500,000 after claiming that his mass communications professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania hounded him for dates and may have sent him a pornographic photo that resembled himself. The student alleged that university officials were aware of previous allegations of the same types of behavior from that professor.
Employee Liability Self-Insurance Program
Settlements were made through the Employee Liability Self-Insurance program. This fund is paid for by both the legislative and executive branch and covers liability issues brought against state employees. Taxpayers are on the hook for these settlement amounts.
Politicians Behaving Badly
Sexual harassment has been a major topic in the media for the past year, with powerful men like producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, and television host Matt Lauer losing their positions after accusations. Pennsylvania politicians have also been accused of sexual harassment. State Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County has been accused by eight females and three males of inappropriate touching or making sexualized jokes. Leach has denied the allegations and legal claims have not yet been filed against him.
However, in 2015, a female staffer for Berkshire County representative, Thomas Caltagirone, received nearly $250,000 after she made sexual harassment claims against him. The case was settled rather than running up potentially large legal fees, and Caltagirone denies her allegations.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Sexual Misconduct
If you or loved has been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call our office today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas.