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Friday, June 01, 2007

Fire district, city of Vancouver lose harassment suit

Progressives in Clark County tend to lament the "good old boy" system that runs things around here. You know there is stuff that happens that never makes the paper, but of course, nothing changes until somebody does something.

Well you can't be too literal about being a good old boy, I guess, because you might just get hit in the wallet:
A jury awarded $3.5 million in damages Friday afternoon to four women who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fire District 5, its top administrator, Marty James, and the city of Vancouver.

The verdicts, announced after a day and a half of jury deliberations, came after a four-week trial punctuated by accounts of vulgar language and raunchy e-mails.

The $3.5 million total makes it one of the biggest judgments in Clark County history and the biggest award against an employer.
It's amazing these kinds of things would still happen, but then, Clark County is a throwback sort of place. At times it's charming and at times, as in this instance, it's downright bizarre. Hello! Anyone ever hear of appropriate workplace behavior?

Here's the really screwy part:
When asked if he intends to stay on as the district’s administrator, James replied: “Well, we’ll see.”
The guy just lost a $3.5 million sexual harassment lawsuit, and he's not sure if he'll resign?


This had apparently been going on for a significant length of time, so it's kind of troubling that something wasn't done. According to today's Columbian article, one of the plaintiffs claimed she told Vancouver's fire chief about the harassment, which he denies.

What a mess. The city of Vancouver is also on the hook somewhat over this, so they probably better take a look-see in their own house as well.

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