Although the settlement was confidential, the employer’s lawyers appear to have disclosed it themselves.
Due to the confidential nature of the settlement, only pieces of information have been released. While it is unclear what justified the $9.5 million settlement, it most likely was due to the fact that the female worker in this case was an actress who was slated to appear in many more episodes of the tv show, and much of that settlement was probably the pay she would have received had she not been fired.
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On another occasion, she claimed, the popular male worker said he wanted to bend her over his knee and spank her.
A third incident took place when the female made a gesture with three fingers, and in response, the popular male worker joked that she wanted to have a threesome with another male co-worker. Other co-workers laughed and even joined in the comments. Another co-worker remarked that he was with the other man, implying he too was interested in a threesome.
A fourth incident involved a white, windowless van, used for work, and the popular male commented that he would take her to his “rape van” which he said contained phallic objects and lubricant.
A female worked alongside a powerful male co-worker. Although the male was not her supervisor, he was the star of the workplace. The female worker claimed that the popular male worker repeatedly subjected her to comments of a sexual nature in front of other co-workers.
She claimed that once, when she arrived at work wearing a suit, he said, “Here comes legs.”
She reported her increasing discomfort with the popular male’s behavior, and management and she agreed she would bring the matter to the male co-worker’s attention. She began by telling him that “everyone loves” him and follows his lead, using the threesome incident as an example. The popular male responded by asking her why she reported him and not report the other co-worker for his comment. He then texted the president of the company and said he wanted to talk about her sense of humor. Days later, she found out that her employment would be ending.
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During her final days of work, the popular male co-worker insisted she participate in a champagne toast, even though he knew she did not drink alcohol, and he repeatedly remarked that she was a “beautiful woman” in front of co-workers.
While it is unknown whether the five incidents described above would rise to the level necessary under the law of either severe or pervasive behavior that could form the basis of a hostile work environment sexual discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. However, the closeness in time between the female worker’s report of the behavior and her termination creates a serious issue of retaliation.
The above facts only recently came to light, in December 2018, in press reports. The popular male is Michael Weatherly of NSIS and Bull fame, and the female is Eliza Dushku, who was his co-star on the television show, Bull. The above “facts” were reported from a lawyer report. The company, CBS, hired two law firms to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by former chief executive Leslie Moonves. The company also asked the lawyers to examine broader “cultural issues at all levels” of the network. The facts contained above were contained in the lawyer report, which disclosed that the female worker, Eliza Dushku, was paid a settlement of $9.5 million for the above alleged sex harassment and retaliation.