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Florida school board attorney admits to making lewd comments

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2020 | Sexual Harassment At Work

The Florida Commissioner of Education has recommended that the School District of Manatee County’s general council be removed from his post for making inappropriate comments to his coworkers. The attorney has apologized for his comments and has agreed to take three courses dealing with workplace sensitivity and sexual harassment. The courses are expected to take place within a month.

The investigation into the attorney’s conduct was launched on Jan. 10 when the school district received two complaints about lewd and inappropriate comments. The complaints were made by unidentified former and current employees. The investigation was handled by another school board attorney as the lawyer being investigated is tasked with overseeing the Office of Professional Standards. In a Jan. 17 statement, the attorney vowed to treat his coworkers with more respect in the future and thanked the school board members for their ongoing support. He was placed on administrative leave shortly after the complaints were received.

A copy of the investigation report was released to the press with the names of the complainants redacted. The comments that prompted the complaints referred to personal appearance and were described in the report as flirtatious. The attorney conducting the investigation failed to reach any firm conclusions as he did not speak to either of the complainants. He suggested that the primary purpose of the investigation was to insulate school board officials from liability.

Workers often seek South Florida sexual harassment legal assistance because complaints they made about inappropriate behavior through proper channels were either ignored or not taken seriously. Attorneys with employment law experience may seek compensation for workplace harassment or discrimination victims by initiating litigation on their behalf. Types of evidence that could support a sexual harassment claim and allegations that employers nurtured a toxic and hostile work environment include lewd comments, suggestive emails and pornographic material in the workplace.