Seattle, WA- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Fry’s electronics agreed to pay $ 2.3 million to a former supervisor who was fired after reporting incidents of sexual harassment.
Ka Lam worked as a supervisor at a Renton, Washington location where he was lauded for his performance, until he did the right thing a stood up for one of his co-workers who was being sexually harassed by the store’s assistant manager.
Starting in 2007, America Rios, who was 20 at the time, began receiving sexually charged text messages soliciting her for sex and making inappropriate comments. She told the EEOC the behavior made her feel, “overwhelmed, uncomfortable, stressed out.”
Rios told Lam about the harassment, who then took the issue to the company, but they fired him despite having previously received glowing performance reviews. Fry’s told Lam that he was let go because of declining productivity. However, the company did not let go of the assistant manager accused of creating a hostile work environment.
The EEOC attempted to reach a settlement with Fry’s through mediation but the company refused. Businesses that refuse to settle often find that after jury trial they could end up paying a much larger lawsuit. This case along with one filed in D.C. are good examples of multi-million dollar settlements that could have saved the company money in the pre-trial phase.
Retaliation frequently follows sexual harassment complaints. The problem is so prevalent that targets of harassment fear reprisals and often take the abuse. When faced with retaliation the complainant faces emotional distress and lost wages. A sexual harassment lawyer will work hard to get their client the compensation they deserve.