Saturday, 25 May 2013

Biggest Sexual Harassment cases settled ever

Phaneesh Murthy, the name googled more than those of Katrina Kaif and even Rajni Kanth last week. That's quite an achievement, whatever the reason may be.

Ten years back, Infosys had to pay $3 million for an out of court settlement of sexual harassment case against him. Here comes the man again, sacked few days back as iGATE president and CEO, the damage is expected to be much bigger this time.

Intention of this article is not to get into the details of what really happened, it doesn't suit this blog anyways, but to talk about the money involved in the biggest sexual harassment case settlements around the world.

Yup I have digged out some of the biggest settlements on the basis of amount involved in them.

Here they are, starting from the largest,

1. Female Employees v/s Novartis International AG

Settlement Amount : $250 Million
Year : 2010

This is more of a sex discrimination case than a harassment case, I think it'll come under the category we are looking into.
This is a unique case where number of female employees registered the case - one such claim was a new mom was asked not to apply for management job.  More details .

2. Ani Chopourian v/s Mercy General Hospital

Settlement Amount : $168 Million
Year : 2012

Ani Chopourian worked as a surgical physicians assistant for two years. She claims she was fired after she complained of sexual harassment.

This is the largest compensation given so far for an individual. More Details

3.Asheley v/s Aarons Inc

Settlement Amount : $95 Million
Year : 2011

She claimed that, she was harassed by her store manager.
Due to federal cap, the compensation came down to $40 Million.
Still it was the largest compensation for an individ6ual till Ani Chopourian verdict. More Details

 4.Female Employees v/s Mitsubishi Motors

Settlement Amount : $34 Million
Year : 1998

In 1998 the company was charged with allowing a hostile setting for women, Mitsubishi agreed to pay $34 million to female workers at the Normal, Illinois plant. More Details

5. Four Female Employees v/s Ralphs Grocery Store

Settlement Amount : $30.6 Million
Year : 2002

Four Employees charged the store manager of harassment including throwing objects at them.
In 2006, this compensation amount was reduced in 2006. More Details

There are thousand's of these cases, including the famous or infamous US president Bill Clinton and pop singer Britney Spears.

One thing I noticed while compiling this information is, Almost everything I get to read was from the USA. It is not that sexual harassment is less in other parts of the country, but they are not getting reported and compensation system is not as strong as the US's.

The best thing about US federal law is, the one who files a sexual harassment case may not pay the lawyer if one loses the case.
And harassment case can be filed against the firm or company as an individual. This makes the companies to be extra conscious and proactive to avoid any harassment cases.

It is not the case in other countries, if I talk from the perspective of India, according to an Oxfam opinion poll, 17% of Indian working woman face sexual harassment  and only 0.5% of the harassment cases come in to the limelight.

This is surprisingly shocking fact, hope in the future things wont get swept under the carpet.

Thanks for reading. 



  1. I was looking for the compilation for my project.
    Thanks for all the information and relative links.

  2. Organization can no longer rely of unawareness in addition to the other risk management issues of workplace harassment. Regulators and new regulations are using the term or ones like it 'known or ought to have known'.

    So now, not knowing doesn't provide protection even when completely genuine. And there are two more issue that relates to a toxic work environment… poor productivity and employee retention. Training, developing then loosing good people.

    Increased attention to all workplace harassment matters benefits all, it is important for organizations to realize that as the economy begins to improve the real issue for them (not so say the moral and legal issues are not) will become employee retention.

    Good people will not tolerate a bad environment.


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