Women Awarded $750,000 in Sex Discrimination Case

Women Awarded $750,000 in Sex Discrimination Case

Three women received a $750,000 settlement on Monday in a 5-year-old sexual discrimination lawsuit brought against their employer, the National Education Association-Alaska.

Carol Christopher, Carmela Chamara, and Julie Bhend, filed the lawsuit in 2001, alleging that their supervisor, assistant executive director Tom Harvey, bullied female employees and created a hostile work environment for women.

The federal Equal Opportunity Commission filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court in Alaska on behalf of the women. The lawsuit specifically claimed that Harvey verbally abused, berated, and spit upon the three women.

According to the filing, the conditions forced Christopher to leave her job. Neither Bhend nor Chamara still works for the NEA-Alaska, although they each identified different reasons.

A federal judge originally rejected the claim, citing insufficient grounds. An appellate court later reinstated the complaint based on the severity of the claims. The judge ruled that abusive sexual discrimination does not have to be driven by lust or misogyny.

As part of the settlement, the union agreed to implement new policies, complaint procedures, and anti-discrimination training for employees. The settlement did not require the union to admit fault.

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