Male-on-Male Sexual Harassment Case Ends in $110,000 Settlement

My, how sexual harassment claims have evolved. In the nineties, the headlines always went like this: Pretty Young Female Subordinate Sues Insensitive Boss. You didn't hear much about the unfortunate boys who were groped, gawked at or objectified on the job.

But check this out: A group of Miami-based litigators just won a $110,000 settlement against Dillard's department store for a same-sex harassment suit in Orlando. The case, which includes some creepy details, closed today.

"Companies don't seem to address same-sex harassment," says Nora Curtin, a Miami-based EEOC attorney who worked the case. "They need to treat it just as seriously."

According to the lawsuit, the harassment began back in 2007, after a manager brought a young manual laborer named Paul(last name removed for privacy) "to isolated areas of the work premises." He lured Paul and others "under the pretext of performing work and then [started] masturbating," according to court documents.

The manager got more bold. He left behind his Pee-wee Herman-in-the-porn-theater moves, and graduated to "pressing his genitals against [Paul's] body," court documents show. Next he "forcibly touched [Paul's] penis."

The EEOC alleged Dillard's failed to "take prompt corrective action."
Lawyers for the department store denied the nasty stuff ever happened. Paul was never "subjected to sexual harassment," lawyers wrote in response. But dockets show the case was closed for the purposes of a settlement. And EEOC reps say Paul will walk with thousands.

Dillard's has a history of settling sexual harassment cases.

Says Curtin: "It's vital to protect both men and women from workplace harassment."

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