Tech company fights back against sexual harassment claims
The assumption that most probably have when news of a sexual harassment case breaks is that it is a man harassing a woman. As a case currently pending against Yahoo Inc., illustrates, this is not always the case however. A woman who formerly worked as an engineer for the business filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that her former boss sexually harassed her. She also claimed she was wrongfully terminated. Her former boss is a woman.
More specifically, the former Yahoo engineer indicated that supervisor while employed by the tech company, coerced her into having a sexual relationship, allegedly threatening her with the loss of her job if she did not comply. Eventually the worker filed a complaint with the business and she said she was then fired.
Yahoo did not take those allegations lying down. Instead, the woman’s former supervisor, a senior director of engineering, filed a cross-complaint alleging defamation. She claims that the allegations of sexual harassment against her are false and that she never had sex with the other woman.
Following the filing of the cross-complaint, the former employee sought to have it dismissed under anti-SLAPP. That move did not work however as the judge on the case indicated that the cross-complaint surpasses the hurdle of minimal merit. To be successful in the counter-claim, the terminated woman’s former supervisor must be able to establish malice. This is often a difficult task.
How this, as well as the initial claim, will be resolved remains to be seen. What is clear is Yahoo is launching an aggressive defense against the allegations.
Source: The Recorder, “Yahoo Fights Fire With Fire in Sexual Harassment Case,” Marisa Kendall, Aug. 22, 2014