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The following allegations are contained in a lawsuit that was filed against a Port St. Lucie business in December 2019.
An employee worked as an Office Manager at a Treasure Coast business called Treasure Coast GI, LLC (“Treasure Coast”) located in Port St. Lucie, FL, which is located in St. Lucie County, Florida. Her direct supervisor was the manager/operator of the Port Saint Lucie business.
- On at least three occasions during the employee’s employment, the supervisor cornered her in Treasure Coast’s office and pressed his lips against hers, to which she responded, “get off of me.”
- Three weeks after hiring the employee, the supervisor asked her to tidy up electrical wires that were on the floor. While the employee was crawling on the floor, the supervisor grabbed the back of her head and pushed it down towards his crotch, as if to mimic oral sex, and the supervisor made crude noises during this action. The employee immediately got up and screamed, “No!” In response, the supervisor laughed, and subsequently apologized.
Two months later, while the employee and the supervisor were discussing a work-related matter, he placed his hand on the employee’s thigh.
The following month, the supervisor wrapped his arm around the employee and pressed his erect penis against her buttocks while in Treasure Coast’s office.
During the next month or two the supervisor made a comment about the employee shaving her pubic region.
A couple months later, the supervisor grabbed the employee’s breast in the office of Treasure Coast.
A few months later, the employee requested a pay increase. Instead of simply denying the employee’s request, the supervisor offered a sexually explicit quid pro quo to the employee stating that he could “arrange other things for her to do on the side” in exchange for more money. The employee told the supervisor that she was not a slut. The supervisor asked if she knew any women looking for a good time that did not have morals or values.
Ten months later, while in the Treasure Coast office, the supervisor walked up behind the employee and started rubbing her shoulders. She did not consent to him rubbing her shoulders and replied, “No, thank you.” The supervisor then reached beneath the employee’s shirt and grabbed her nipple. The employee yelled at the supervisor and said that was not OK. In response, the supervisor placed his index finger over her lips to and said, “shhh, it’s fine, it’s fine.”
Three months later, the supervisor, asked the employee if they could “f---k around” and said he could get her nipples hard.
The supervisor repeatedly promised the employee that he would stop the inappropriate, abusive and offensive behavior.
The Treasure Coast business did not have a human resource department or an individual employed in a capacity such that the employee or any other employee could report incidents of sexual harassment or sexual battery.
As a result of the supervisor’s continuous and unwanted sexual advances towards the employee, the employee had no alternative but to tender her resignation. In December 2019 she filed a lawsuit in St. Lucie County and even held a press conference in front of the St. Lucie County courthouse.
The employee’s lawsuit alleged that the Treasure Coast business engaged in negligent supervision and negligent retention of the supervisor. The lawsuit also alleged that, because this misconduct by the supervisor occurred during working hours, and occurred in the course and scope of the performance of his duties at the Treasure Coats business, the Treasure Coast business is responsible for the actions.
An interesting twist in this case is that the lawyers who sued the Treasure Coast business are personal injury lawyers from Orlando and they also sued the Treasure Coast business for Premises Liability because the company allegedly failed to provide a safe premises to its employees.
In the post #MeToo world, the allegations set forth above, which were contained in this lawsuit are very concerning. Businesses should be training their staff, including the high level managers and supervisors about this misconduct to reduce the liability to the company.
If you own a Treasure Coast business and you have questions about sex discrimination and or sexual harassment, you may email the Law Office of David Miklas, P.A. for a consultation or you can call David Miklas at 1-772-465-5111 to discuss sexual discrimination in Florida.
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