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Two New York Police Officers Accuse their Superior of Sexual Harassment

The officer accused of sexual harassment is Lt. Jason Margolis of the 103rd precinct. He is well known around the Queens area of New York for hitting on his female employees, even though he is currently married. One of the woman officers being sexually harassed filed a complaint with the NYPD HR department on November 8th, 2011. One of the female officers followed through with the complaint, informing her other supervisors. An internal investigation was held, and eventually concluded. This is where most sexual harassment cases would stop, but it didn't.

The same officer that filed the internal complaint reported that the sexual harassment continued, and now she is harassed and hazed at work on a daily basis. This form of retaliation is common when considering the "blue code of silence" that most police officers are accustomed to.

David Perecmen, the founder of the Perecmen law firm, stated, "Under New York state law, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has reported sexual harassment in the workplace." The Perecmen Firm is one of New York's leading sexual harassment law firms and is not willing to back down on the charges filed.

None of that is good for Lt. Margolis or the NY police department, but the troubles were doubled when a second sexual harassment victim stepped forward. The second woman also claims that the same Lt. sexually harassed her. In many cases of sexual harassment, the victims feel ashamed, so much that they would rather hide their pain then step forward. When one victim has the courage to confront it, often times the other victims come forward and band together for the mutual support and comfort.

The best result for this case is changing sexual harassment policies and punishments. That is done in the hopes that the potential victims and perpetrators understand the consequences and the proper channels to follow, if sexual harassment does occur.

The two female officers claiming sexual harassment have chosen wisely in their lawyers. The Perecmen Firm has been representing New York civil right violations for the past 30 years, including countless sexual harassment charges. David Perecmen, the founder, has had decades of experience, including being the past Secretary and Treasurer of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, or the NYSTLA. He has also been distinguished as an honoree in the National Law Journals Hall of Fame for the NY magazines, "Best Lawyers in America," edition. He has also been named an honoree in the NY Times, "Super Lawyers Metro Edition," for three consecutive years, from 2007-2010.

There are a few simple steps the NYPD could have utilized to stop the problem before it got this far. The Lt. in question was known for flirting and sexually harassing his subordinates. If the station in question would have addressed the problem when it became apparent, then the two victims currently suing the precinct would have never occurred. Possible steps that could have been taken are sexual harassment classes, write-up's, and even suspension.

It would have put a bad mark on his record, but it could have saved the city from a costly lawsuit and a settlement of potential millions. If the 103rd precinct would have showed any real motivation to stop the harassment, then the case may have been dismissed. Sadly for the victims and the precinct, that didn't happen.

Sexual Harassment on the Job Can be Used for Wrongful Lawsuits of Termination

When you own business with any number of employees must do their best to maintain a work environment that is free of sexual harassment. If employers take reasonable steps to prevent it, they aren't legally liable for their employees actions. This is especially true when a co-worker is sexually harassed by another co-workers after hours.

In one recent case of after hours sexual harassment, ironically, includes the holidays. The victim, a woman in New Jersey, had been disciplined several times for being late for work and not following proper protocols when calling in sick to work. Near Christmas, the woman invited a co-worker to holiday party she was going to attend.

The two met in the work lobby and headed out to her car to get to the party. After getting into her car, she claimed that her co-worker sexually harassed and assaulted her. She claims that her co-worker tried kissing her, grabbing her breast, and then unzipped his pants and tried to force her head down into his lap.

According to the reports, she was able to escape and then promptly reported the incident to her supervisors. As a result, the co-worker was reprimanded and demoted for conduct unbecoming of a corrections officer. This though did little to stop her lateness for work and total absenteeism. For this, she was later terminated. After hearing this story, it's not surprising to know that she tried to sue the corrections facility for having a sexually hostile environment and was ultimately sued for reporting the sexual harassment against her.

After hearing both sides, the court threw out the charges. The court decided that the employer wasn't liable for the harassment, since it was a single isolated incident that happened outside the workplace. The second reason the court dismissed the case was due to the employers actions to stop and punish the sexual harassment that had occurred as quickly as possible. The court noted the step the employers took as satisfactory, namely by demoting the harasser.

The third and final reason the courts decided against the harasser was the fact that the employee was fired for her constant absenteeism and sick days. The employers had kept close track of her attendance problems, making sure everything was documented. In the end, the court decided that her termination was truly due to her absenteeism and not a punishment for reporting her sexual harassment.

All in all, the employers did the right thing. If the employers would have required all the employees take sexual harassment classes this situation may have been avoided altogether.

 If the company would have required that training then the harasser may have thought twice before committing the act, since he would have been properly educated on what is sexual harassment and what is not. In many cases, the placement of camera's in public places, like the parking lot, can do a world of good. This is especially true for sexual harassment and wrongful termination cases. 

California Senate Uses Tax Payer Dollars for Sexual Harassment Case

The California state Senate, behind closed doors, approved a $120,000 payout to settle a sexual harassment charge against Democratic senator Rodney Wright of Inglewood. The charges were filed against him by a former staff member. The $120,000 settlement was agreed upon in April of 2010, after the two attorneys met in private mediation. The former aid, Fahizah Alim was reassigned to another democratic Senate office, after stating the work environment for Ms. Alim was, "totally inappropriate" and completely "intolerable."

Ms. Alim's attorney, John Poswell, went on to say that the behavior displayed by Senator Wright  was "…beyond anything anyone would expect of a public official, or any employer of the 20th century!" The spokesman for Senator Wright declined to make a statement in response to that, and simply said they could not discuss what they described as a personal issue. Many would believe that the personal issue stopped when public monies were used for the payment of the public settlement.

The money was payed to the victim, Ms. Alim, out of a publicly funded trust, called the Senate operating fund. The payout was approved in a closed door session, where reporters and cameras are not allowed. That, sadly, was not the only funds payed out for sexual harassment cases using public tax-payer money. Another $89,500 was payed to a former aid of a different senator, named Carol Liu. The charges or motions filed against her does not state the name of the victim or the type of sexual harassment experienced.

Ms. Alim's attorney, John Poswell, admitted that the money paid was out of tax-payer funds, but agreed with the senator and courts that she would not discuss the matter openly or on public record. That small detail makes one wonder if it is due to a confidentiality clause that, if broken, could result in the forfeiture of the money paid. This practice of keeping the public in the dark on why money is being spent on a private citizens court costs, instead of the public good, makes government watchdogs bark very loudly.

One in particular is the California Common Cause. They stated, "There are sensitive personnel matters around this, but there should have been some sort of notice that these funds were going to be appropriated," said Phillip Ung, the spokesman and policy advocate for the C.C.C.

It goes without saying that this isn't the first time public funds have been used to pay off a private sexual harassment case. In 2005, the Democratic Assembly agreed to payout another $118,000. reportedly, this is due to Senator Rebecca Cohn creating a "sexually charged and hostile work environment." Again, in 2000, the lower house approved nearly $150,000 to a woman who claimed she was being sexually harassed by her supervisor, Assemblyman Lou Papan, also a Democrat.

Many of these sexual harassment charges and payouts could easily be avoided if every member of congress is required to take a sexual harassment education course. It will open their eyes and their minds to what is acceptable in today's standards of political correctness. The aids they work with should also be required to take these classes, that way they know what constitutes sexual harassment and what doesn't. That alone can save the country, and individual states, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

India's Army Authorities Violating India Supreme Court over Sexual Harassment?

In Jaipur, an India Army Public School principle has been accused and charged with sexually harassing a teacher. This has come in the wake of accusations and terminations. After the initial claim was made, the school did its own internal investigation. They found that the principle, Rajiv Kumar Singh, is innocent and refused to tell authorities. What they did do was terminate the work contract of the woman who made the accusation, Mangla Bhatt, for indiscipline and poor English skills.

Ms. Bhatt alleges that the sexual harassment started on 2010 and peaked on November 16th, 2011. She reported that he would often come up from behind her, tell her she was “very sweet looking,” and that she should go with him. He wanted to make her “permanent.”  Four other teachers and six other employees of the school are supporting Ms. Bhatt in her efforts against the principle, which now claim to be getting harassed by school officials. Three of the other people supporting the teacher have lost their jobs for various reasons and four of the 6 standard employees are now banned from entering the school completely.

The India Army claims that the 3 fired teachers and the 4 other employees, all witnesses, were “hell-bent on prevailing over the truth”. This basically means they were trying to spread harmful and supposedly untrue rumors about the school.

India Army authorities claim they have began two separate inquiries into the case, both cleared the principle of any wrong doing. After the Army authorities cleared Singh of any wrong doing, Ms. Bhatt went to the local police and filed an official complaint. The local police found enough evidence to arrest the principle. After, he paid the bail and was released.

There have been a number of human rights groups which have stepped in on the case, pointing out that the India Army Public School was violating India's Supreme Court. In a case of sexual harassment, such as this, the investigative group must be headed by a woman. In the past internal inquiries, this didn't happen and only one woman was on each investigation panel.

Human rights groups are also protesting the fact that Singh would be present in each of the inquiries  over his sexual harassment. That fact, Ms.Bhatt is arguing, makes it very difficult for the victims to feel comfortable enough to be completely honest. All of the school's daily business is run and controlled by India's committee of management, which is made of India's senior military officers. When the local television crews asked for a comment, the school Chairman, Brigadier SD Mehta, refused to make any statement for the record.

There is a specific combination of things that could provide proof and a solid wall of prevention, all at once. That is, using surveillance camera's in the public areas of the school and requiring every employee to take sexual harassment education courses. The courses alone could have saved the school money, Singh his job, and their reputation. 

How to Stop Sexual Abuse in American Institutions

There has never been a more aware time for sexual crimes than today. The number of sexual misconduct crimes have been on the rise since society has had the means to track and punish sexual offenders. We must realize the child can't be expected to protect themselves from sexual abuse and predators, it is up to the parents and authorities at the institutions that our children attend.

In the past, we have done too much to protect child sex offenders, to accept that it happens, and accept the people who do it. It ranges from churches to schools and kindergarten to college, sexual assault and abuse has been much too accepted behind the scenes.

The problem with stopping this is, that up until now the prevention has been focused on responsibility of the individual. More responsibility should be placed on the institution the child finds themselves in. If the schools, churches, and even daycare centers would be more responsible and take certain new measures, they would have a broader sense of responsibility toward what happens to the children or student on their property. Many times the campuses and religious hubs hide and collude with the sex offenders to ensure their security, when it is the young that they should be concerned with.

It may be something the institutions aren't meaning to do, but by keeping these types of securities for sexual predators, they are giving them the chance to commit another sex crime. It allows them the opportunity to go undetected, having the chance to harm somebody again. We must strive and demand that the institutions we entrust our children to, have policies that are adequate enough to protect them from outside harm, especially the most heinous kind.

Most institutions only employ these types of rock solid policies for sex offenders and predators after gaining a bad reputation for sexual abuse and assault cases. That was the case for Syracuse and Penn State, where breaking an unsaid code of silence toward sex offenses meant being fired or expelled. Since then, these types of institutionalized cover-ups have ruined reputations and now they are forced to institute the strictest of sex predator policies.

The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation stated earlier this week, “The normalization of such abuse and exploitation for individual or commercial gain is socially, politically, and spiritually unacceptable in all communities throughout our nation.” Every institution in the United States needs to conform to a unified code of conduct, that way no school, church or other institution can hide or hire child predators..

There is a simple way to keep these types of crimes from happening in schools. The first, is more camera's by the institutions caring for our children. The next should be complete reforms of the school or church policies to never employ child predators and to do thorough background checks on all the individuals they hire. On top of this, the U.S. Congress can pass a child predator act to require stronger policies to protect our children while they are required to be in school or in religious study.