In the Media:
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up: "Worker asserts business owner harassed her - She argues an ongoing pay-for-sex relationship expected; case is settled"
Longtime major Genesee County business employee, Heather Anthony, settled her lawsuit against her former employer and the company’s owner, by accepting the case evaluation of $250,000.
In May of 2012, Anthony was approached by Owner to meet her on a Saturday in a Grand Blanc parking lot. Having worked for Owner for 15 years, Anthony did as requested. Upon arriving, Owner entered her vehicle, offered to give her “what she needed” as she had “what he wanted”, forcibly kissed her, and left three $100 bills in her car’s cupholder. Owner expected an ongoing pay-for-sex relationship.
The shock of this made Anthony physically ill and created substantial emotional distress knowing that, although she refused his advances more than once, she would have to see Owner again, probably on a continual basis. Significantly, Owner used his power and influence at the company to obtain Anthony’s cell phone number, which he used to call her – and no other employee – while he was out of town with his wife. He also tried to meet with Anthony while in the office.
Anthony reported the incident to the Company’s CEO who stated at her deposition that she believed Anthony. CEO did an investigation, but did nothing satisfactory to resolve the issue, thereby leaving Anthony unable to work and constructively discharged from her only source of income and a job she successfully held for 15 years. Anthony also made a report to the Grand Blanc Township Police Department.
Defendant Company, in a Motion and Brief filed with the Court, took the position that Owner did “at most…what many men do, i.e. used his wealth and ability to provide material favors to a woman, as an inducement to enter into a sexual relationship.” This outrageous position, coupled with the CEO's deposition testimony that she did not believe that Anthony was making the incident up to extort money from Owner and his company, essentially sealed Defendants’ fates. Curiously, Defendants offered the purported extortionist and shake-down artist, Heather Anthony, her job back (!), which included handing out company paychecks to the employees she supervised!
The case settled through Case Evaluation for a total sum of $250,000 - $75,000 as to Company, and $175,000 as to Owner. Had the case gone to trial, Defendants would have had to pay trebled damages pursuant to Michigan's Ethnic Intimidation statute.