There are laws in place that protect employees from inappropriate behavior such as sexual harassment. Additionally, employees should feel free to report such unlawful behavior without fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, a female pastor in California claims the church that employed her fired her after she complained about sexual harassment at the hands of the head pastor. As a result, she has now turned to litigation.
Court records indicate that the woman was hired to serve as a youth minister at the church in 2008. Several years later, she was promoted to a higher position within the church. In 2017, the church reportedly hired a new head pastor, and the woman claims the sexual harassment began shortly afterward.
The first incident allegedly occurred as both people and other members of church staff traveled to a conference. However, she claims the harassment continued and included incidents in which he commented on her clothing and attempted to dance provocatively with her. The incidents, she claims, made her uncomfortable, and when she filed a complaint, she claims she was given a half-hearted apology, but she alleges that the behavior continued. A few months after filing the complaint, she claims she was fired from her position.
Her lawsuit against the pastor and the California church alleges wrongful termination, sexual harassment and retaliation in addition to failing to prevent such unlawful action. Many people who are treated in such a manner are often unaware of the most appropriate way to respond. Fortunately, an attorney with experience with business law can help these victims fully understand their legal rights and help them determine if litigation is the right option.
Source: sandiegoreader.com, “Youth pastor sues Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church over sexual harassment,” Dorian Hargrove, Aug. 8, 2017