Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

Woman claims sexual harassment complaint was ignored

A woman in another state claims that she was sexually harassed while she was working at a middle school. She says that her complaints were not taken seriously, and now she wants something done about it. It doesn't matter if one resides in Massachusetts or elsewhere, sexual harassment claims should always be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.

According to reports, the victim -- a 44-year-old female -- was working as a registrar, getting kids signed up for classes at the beginning of the school year, when a male teacher allegedly came up from behind her and rubbed himself, while aroused, against her rear-end. She immediately told the principal, but nothing was done about it. The footage of the incident was eventually taped over.

A witness to the event reported it to the school district within two weeks. Still, video footage was not reviewed by the district. The principal did not file a report until the end of September, long after the video footage was no longer available. The district claims that an internal investigation into the matter did not conclude either way that an assault had occurred.

The victim had recorded a conversation between herself and the principal that indicated the principal was aware of the situation before the video was deleted. It is still unclear why the principal failed to act. Eventually, the victim filed a report with the police, who did charge the teacher with offensive contact. After winter break, the victim was then placed on administrative leave.

Sadly, the way this woman has been treated seems to be pretty standard, but it shouldn't be. Victims of sexual harassment in Massachusetts and elsewhere should not feel victimized further simply because they choose to report. In this particular case, the victim may be entitled to seek compensation for her losses by filing claims against her abuser and her employer. This is true for anyone whose sexual harassment claims have been ignored. Legal counsel can assist victims of workplace harassment hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

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