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8 Immigrant workers settle sexual harassment claim for $1M

Behind closed doors, many immigrant workers in Florida and across the country are exposed to sexual harassment. Many who are aggrieved are afraid to speak up out of fear of retaliation, which only allows the improper behavior to continue. A group of eight immigrant workers from another state fought against their fears and filed a sexual harassment claim against a luxury condo association, and they are finally receiving justice.

According to the complaint, the women were harassed by their supervisor. He allegedly would ask the women to engage in sexual activities with him, and in return, he would give them more hours or advancement. Additionally, he purportedly showed the women lewd photos and even became physical with one of the housekeepers. If the women dared to complain about the sexual harassment, he apparently would threaten to have them deported or reduce their hours.

The women overcame their fear and purportedly told their superiors about what was happening, but the manager was not disciplined. Instead, the women were apparently told that if they didn't like his behavior, they could quit. This only led to the harassment becoming worse. Several months after reporting the sexual harassment, two of the women filed a police report against their supervisor, resulting in him being arrested and a restraining order put in place so that the women would no longer be forced to work with him. After the complaint, the women involved were allegedly fired, and the manager was replaced.

Eight of the women filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company, and a $1 million dollar settlement was reached. The company does not admit to doing anything wrong, but it is making steps to prevent future harassment. The luxury resort claims it will hire a bilingual monitor to check on the workers regularly, train the management staff more thoroughly on employment laws and have the company handbook translated into Spanish. It is very easy for workers in Florida and elsewhere to be scared of losing their jobs or other retaliation when faced with similar situations. Pursuing such claims may result in compensation for the mental distress that was suffered as well as help to prevent such harassment going forward.

Source: ABC News, "Workers Say Luxury Colorado Resort Allowed Sexual Harassment", Sadie Gurman, Feb. 16, 2016

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