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California Civil Rights Law Group Wins Sexual Harassment Case Against Car Dealership Based on Harassment by a Customer

by Meg Organ

Over the next few months, we will present a sampling of the cases CCRLG has brought to closure for our clients. The facts are true, the names have been changed to preserve privacy.

Sexual harassment in the workplace doesn’t only apply to harassment between employees but to any harassment that occurs at work.

“Taylor” had been working in customer service at Car Dealership when she experienced sexual harassment. After working at the company for just over a year, Taylor was harassed by a customer. While he was using the company’s facilities, the customer took one of Taylor’s business cards and started sending her text messages in which he demanded that she date him. Taylor told her supervisor that the customer’s advances made her uncomfortable, but he brushed off her complaints. Her supervisor told Taylor to ignore the customer. The customer then repeatedly came to Car Dealership and begged her to date him. He offered her gifts and money and made advances in front of her supervisor. The supervisor, and the company, did nothing to address the problem and the customer began stalking Taylor.

Taylor had to call a manager to remove the customer from the parking lot so that he wouldn’t follow her home. This happened multiple times. The harassment escalated and Taylor was forced to call the police more than once because the harasser made her feel unsafe.

According to the company’s own sexual harassment policies, Taylor’s supervisor should have escalated complaints to HR, but he didn’t. The company’s stalking policy provided for accommodations for Taylor, but the company refused to help her. When Taylor courageously reached out to HR and higher management she was punished, not protected. Instead of barring the customer from the facilities, the company transferred Taylor to a different location. This transfer would have meant a demotion and pay cut. Rather than suffer the humiliation of this retaliation, and fearing for her safety, Taylor resigned.

Even though Taylor stopped working for Car Dealership, what happened to her there stayed with her. Sexual harassment can have lasting effects. As a result of the harassment she experienced, Taylor suffered a great deal. She had to deal with emotional distress. She experienced stress and fear to the extent that she found it difficult to eat or sleep. As a result of the retaliation, she lost money because it took time for her to find a new job that paid as well.

But Taylor fought back.

She contacted CCRLG to help her hold Car Dealership accountable, and CCRLG helped her obtain a substantial settlement.

Taylor’s bravery has led her to take control of her future. She has enrolled in a premier scientific institute to study aerospace engineering. Despite the harassment she suffered, Taylor’s future is bright.

 If you believe your employer has violated your right to a workplace free from sexual harassment, please call us at (415) 453-4740 to schedule an initial intake.