Imagine if every day at work consisted of being on alert for fear of being touched or groped unwillingly. How long should this kind of conduct continue before there is an intervention? A man who worked for a grocery store outside of Florida claims that he suffered sexual harassment for years at the hands of his co-workers and has filed his claim in a federal court.
The butcher started working for the grocer in 2003. He alleges that the abuse began not long after he started. After four years, the situation got worse. The plaintiff -- who happens to be black -- claims that his Latino co-workers were saying derogatory racial remarks to him. Additionally, he claims that the harassment was also physical and his crotch and buttocks were grabbed.
In 2008, the plaintiff could no longer handle the harassment and filed a discrimination claim. However, he could not stay at his job after his co-workers found out about the complaint. He says that his co-workers turned violent and aggressively swung butcher knives at him. The plaintiff also alleges that his car was damaged from being scratched and that the tires slashed. In fear of his safety, the butcher quit.
The grocery store maintains that the plaintiff's sexual harassment and discrimination allegations are false. A jury, however, sided with the butcher and awarded him over $2 million in damages for his ordeal. Although the plaintiff won his case, nothing can take back the years of torture that he suffered. Florida employers are required to provide a safe environment for its workers and should take that responsibility seriously. If that safety is violated and nothing is done to stop it, the aggrieved may consider filing claims against their employers.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Jury awards $2.4 million to butcher who claimed racial, sexual harassment", Andy Grimm, Dec. 16, 2015