The plaintiff, a 36-year-old female auto body technician, worked as a detailer for the defendant’s auto body paint franchise. Shortly after the plaintiff commenced her employment with the defendant, the plaintiff began to receive sexually harassing treatment from a male co-employee. The harassment included vulgar and sexually explicit comments, sexual advances, and physical contact. The plaintiff reported each of the incidents to her supervisor and to the defendant franchise owner, with pleas that action be taken to prevent further harassment.
Despite the plaintiff’s repeated requests for intervention by her employer, the defendant failed to take adequate disciplinary action and the harassment continued.
Following a number of additional verbal and physical assaults, the plaintiff reported the conduct of her co-worker to her employer. The defendant employer responded by firing the offending employee, only to rehire him the following morning.
Several days after the offending employee was rehired, the plaintiff was at work, attempting to locate a kill switch located beneath the dashboard of one of the cars. As the plaintiff was positioned with her back to the front seat and with her legs protruding from the driver’s door, the offending co-employee knelt to the ground and bit the plaintiff in the vagina. While the bite did not break the skin, the plaintiff did sustain a slight bruise and considerable mental anguish as a result of the attack. The offending co-employee was subsequently arrested and pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault.
The plaintiff commenced an action against her employer for violations of G.L. cc. 151B, 1(18) and 214, 1C. Following a finding of probable cause by the MCAD, the case was transferred by plaintiff’s counsel to Massachusetts Superior Court. The case settled prior to trial, following one day of mediation.
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