DFEH Settles Workplace Sexual Harassment Case Against Solo Legal Practitioner
December 17, 2018
For Immediate Release
Former legal secretary to receive payment for lost wages and emotional distress
Ventura – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has reached a settlement in an employment discrimination case with attorney Brian Fox involving his former secretary, who alleged Fox sexually harassed her and created a hostile environment despite her protestations and declarations that his conduct was unwelcome
The complainant filed a complaint with DFEH in February 2017 alleging Fox’s harassment was physical, verbal and visual in nature. Fox escalated his initial friendly hugs to long embraces that included comments about complainant’s body. His physical harassment allegedly intensified as he slapped complainant’s buttocks, kissed her on the cheek without permission, and placed his hand under her skirt. Complainant stated her displeasure with Fox’s inappropriate actions and told him his conduct must stop.
After DFEH found cause to believe a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act had occurred, the parties engaged in mediation resulting in a settlement in which Fox will pay complainant for her lost wages and emotional distress.
“The Fair Employment and Housing Act’s prohibitions against sexual harassment apply to all employers, even those with a single employee or independent contractor,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “Sexual harassment is unlawful in all California workplaces of every size.”
In addition to a monetary settlement, Fox has agreed to attend sexual harassment prevention training, and draft and enforce clear policies governing sexual harassment and discrimination, including providing an independent individual to whom future employees may report claims of harassment and discrimination.
Gregory J. Mann, Senior Staff Counsel, represented DFEH in this proceeding.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.