Do as I say, not as I do? (You won’t believe how much the feds paid to settle allegations of “egregious and continual sexual harassment.”)


Federal agencies, like the U.S. Department of Justice, often publish news releases touting their lawsuits and significant judgments against employer scofflaws.

But, I know a big one — a $1.2M judgment — that the DOJ will want to forget.

According to multiple reports, including Grace Elletson’s at Law360, the DOJ offered $1,200,000 “to resolve a suit from a former staff assistant who said a California immigration judge routinely subjected her to explicit, lewd comments.”

And she accepted.

In the lawsuit the plaintiff filed last year in a California federal court, she alleged that the judge subjected her to “egregious and continual sexual harassment,” including:

  • describing “in graphic detail” other judges and employees he wanted to have sex with, or had sex with, in what positions he wished to have sex and in what manner;
  • discussing “in lurid detail” the physical attributes of attorneys who came before him;
  • “rambling diatribes” regarding the breasts, attractiveness, and whether he deemed the female attorneys and judges “f**kable;
  • repeatedly placing his hand on the plaintiff’s upper leg when she traveled in a car with him and ensuring his right arm touched her breasts;
  • demanding that the plaintiff come “sit on Daddy’s lap” and proclaiming, “I can turn you straight, Baby!”

According to the plaintiff, things got so bad at work that she requested medical leave, during which the judge pressured her to work and denied a leave extension. The plaintiff further alleged that she requested a reasonable accommodation of reassignment to a different supervisor where she would have to endure egregious sexual harassment, only to have the DOJ deny it. Then, the DOJ acted on the judge’s recommendation to fire the plaintiff shortly after she complained about his mistreatment of her.

It’s no wonder that the DOJ made an offer of judgment to the plaintiff.

For those who may not be as familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, at least 14 days before the trial date, a party defending against a claim may serve on an opposing party an offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs then accrued. If the opposing party timely accepts and notifies the court, the clerk of the court enters judgment in that party’s favor.

Here, the DOJ offered to allow the plaintiff to take a judgment for $1,200,000 plus “costs” and “a reasonable attorney’s fee (including expert fees) as part of the costs.” And the plaintiff accepted.

In a statement to Law360, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers said that the Justice Department “did not live up to its name.”

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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