IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT OF MARYLAND IN GREENBELT, SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS DENIED, AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE IS SUCCESSFULLY SETTLED, AFTER EEOC ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE HAD RULED AGAINST THE GOLDSMITH FIRM’S CLIENT
In December, 2004, our firm received an opinion by United States District Judge Alexander Williams, denying a defendant's motion for summary judgment, thereby permitting us to proceed to trial on behalf of a federal employee who was sexually harassed. The case settled successfully shortly thereafter.
The Plaintiff was subjected to thirty to forty comments about the tightness of her skirts and the shape of her legs, which came on a daily basis for some time. The harasser also made sounds suggesting that she would taste good, and referenced “hitting” on her. He would stare at the Plaintiff, making her feel “nasty,” and would block her path so she could not get by. After the plaintiff protested to management about this conduct, and refused to withdraw those complaints, the harasser upped the ante in a ferocious pattern of retaliatory harassment that included the constant, seemingly unending punching of her office partition, the daily singing of his jingle-“I know where you live, I'm gonna get you,” personally threatening the plaintiff at her duty station on his day off, making numerous explicit and implicit threats of violence and death including leaving a bullet at her desk and then telling her “this is for you!”, threatening her with a golf club, threatening to blow up her house, and running her off the road. In addition, outrageously, the harasser insinuated himself into plaintiff's children's school where he volunteered as an assistant football coach. During this period, the harasser continued to make blatant sexually-oriented remarks, such as when he asserted that plaintiff must have “sucked” someone to be nominated for civilian employee of the month.
Our firm had previously tried this case to an EEOC administrative judge in Baltimore, who, despite crediting the plaintiff's testimony, somehow decided that he could not hold the government agency defendant responsible for the conduct of plaintiff's co-worker. Rather than give up, we proceeded to file the case as a civil action in the U.S. District Court. Our decision was vindicated, as the Court held that the conduct was sufficiently severe and pervasive to form a claim of sexual harassment, and that the agency's failure to take sufficient corrective action despite clearly being fully aware of the harassment, was actionable. The plaintiff received a cash settlement, as well as attorneys' fees.