LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The California state Senate paid $350,000 to settle a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee. The employee alleged that the upper house did not accommodate her emotional disabilities and then terminated her employment in retaliation after she claimed that she was sexually assaulted by an Assembly staff member.
The payout, which was to a former legislative aide to state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, is one of the largest settlements that the state Legislature has negotiated in recent history. The $350,000 payment came from the Senate's operating budget, which is funded by taxpayer dollars.
The plaintiff was listed as "Jane Doe" because the law allows for alleged victims of sexual assault in civil cases to use a pseudonym. The case's resolution could further ignite the #MeToo movement and encourage other legislative workers to speak up if they believe they are a victim of harassment.
Carney Shegerian, the founder of Los Angeles-based employee rights law firm Shegerian & Associates, has weighed in on the case.
"The conclusion of the case will hopefully demonstrate other victims of sexual harassment to step forward," Shegerian says. "It is important the legislative workers, and all employees, understand what their rights are in the workplace."
The former state Senate employee alleged that was sexually assaulted after a night out in Sacramento with co-workers in late 2016. She reported the assault to the police and both houses of the Legislature. An Assembly investigation did not substantiate the victim's claims and police did not file charges against the man accused.
The victim sued the Senate in May, in a lawsuit alleging that she was fired in September 2017 in retaliation of reporting the alleged rape. The lawsuit claimed that the victim's supervisors knew of her emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and panic attacks. The victim requested the Senate ban the man from the Senate floor and assign him to a new parking garage, which were both denied.
About Shegerian & Associates:
Shegerian & Associates has won clients over $200 million in employment-based disputes and maintains a 98% success rate. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and New York.
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SOURCE Shegerian & Associates