#HowMuch: The cost of sexual harassment in the workplace

In 2017, a wave of high-profile sexual harassment accusations flooded Hollywood, as dozens of actresses exposed how bigwig producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted them. Sexual assault cases of this nature flourished and helped spark the #MeToo movement. This movement has since inspired numerous victims of sexual assault to step up and expose their alleged abusers.

The following months saw a near-daily barrage of allegations of sexual misconduct against prominent directors, producers, celebrities, executives, chefs, journalists, politicians, restaurateurs, and other powerful men and women. The scandals’ impacts on all of these various industries came to be called “the Weinstein effect.”

This influx of accusations led to shattered reputations, resignations, terminations, and, in some cases, multi-million dollar sexual harassment lawsuits.

One of the most high-profile cases is the lawsuit filed by several women against the Weinstein Company. In their filing, the women argue that the firm is responsible for the sexual misconduct of its founder, Harvey Weinstein. Settlements from this lawsuit are expected to be substantial. We will be tracking this case in Advisen’s EPLI Loss Data.

To illustrate just how large settlement and case payouts for sexual misconduct can be, we’ve pulled together several cases from Advisen’s Loss Database.

Multi-Million Dollar Sexual Harassment Cases

In 1996, a jury awarded $80.7 million to a former manager who said that her employer, an enterprise logistics firm, retaliated against her after a formal sexual misconduct complaint. She accused a driver of poking her inappropriately in the breast. The company was blamed for fostering a hostile working environment when they rehired the driver after previously firing him. According to the plaintiff, the driver then began harassing her continually. When she complained about the unaddressed harassment, she was then allegedly punished by the company.

In another case, a popular news commentator settled a sexual harassment claim for $32 million with a former legal analyst in 2017. The legal analyst claimed the news commentator had: repeatedly harassed her, engaged in “a non-consensual sexual relationship” with her, and sent her gay pornography and other sexually explicit material. This news commentator was eventually fired.

Unfortunately, cases of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment continue to persist in the workplace. It can often be difficult to define sexual sexual misconduct in a myriad of tense situations. Bridging the line between understandings of common harassment and other types of sexual harassment requires absolute precision, foresight, and bravery. For more insight into sexual assault and harassment, read into our collection of cases leading to multi-million settlements in Advisen’s Notable Sexual Harassment Cases.

Download 15 Notable Sexual Harassment Cases