Record $500k payout awarded to victim of workplace sexual harassment

Frustrated Caucasian Woman [Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

The Federal Court of Australia yesterday handed down a record $500k award in compensation to a former accountant who was repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment by a fellow colleague over a five year period.

The ongoing harassment included vulgar suggestions of sexual relations between the married man and the victim. Despite the victim’s attempts to inform her employer, the man remained working in the same team. The sexual harassment culminated at a work function after which the pair had sex without consent. It was alleged by the victim that her drink was spiked; however, the Judge did not find any evidence to suggest this to be the case.

The man was ordered to pay $200,000.00 to the victim, and her former employer ordered to pay the remaining $300,000.00.

The victim, who went to the police on more than one occasion to report the incident, is now calling for an independent inquiry into Victoria Police’s handling of the matter after she was knocked back and essentially told to ‘get on with [her] life’.

The victim was pleased with the outcome of her case and stated that the award in her favour was vindication for her relentless pursuit of justice.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual harassment or conduct within the workplace that makes you feel uncomfortable, call Rowan Skinner & Associates Lawyers today for a confidential discussion as to how we may be able to assist you.

Sources:

Vergara v Ewin [2014] FCAFC 100 (12 August 2014)

Ewin v Vergara (No 3) [2013] FCA 1311

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-14/victim-jemma-ewin-says-record-compensation-is-vindication/5671498?section=vic

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-12/sexual-harassment-victim-has-record-payout-upheld/5665514

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net