City leaders in Canton have agreed to pay $55,000 to a former executive assistant for the chief administrator to settle claims that she was sexually harassed and then retaliated against.
Michelle Schroder alleges that former Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner subjected her unwanted touching and then fired her after she complained to the city.
In her complaint, Shroder alleges that she and Skinner had a cordial relationship until 2008, when he began to do things that made her feel “uncomfortable.” Her complaint detailed an incident that occurred in her office. Shroder said that Skinner entered her office and while she was working on a project he stood over looking at her work then began rubbing her shoulders and back, telling her she was “doing a great job,”
In 2010, she was given a poor performance review and claims that was because she complained about the harassing behavior.
The city however denied the allegations stating her performance and attitude had deteriorated and she began to show up to work late.
In February of 2011, she was given a written reprimand. Later in June, she told Skinner she was uncomfortable around him, which prompted him to write another reprimand and put in her personnel file.
The city decided to settle with Shroder and agreed to pay her $55,000 to settle the harassment complaints. Cases of city officials harassing their subordinates seems fairly common, the most recent being in Brooklyn.
Employers really need to address any sexual harassment complaints, because if they don’t it is likely they will be subjected to lawsuits where sexual harassment attorneys will be asking for big payouts.