He said she said. Investigators say that sexual harassment cases can sometimes be reduced to those four simple words, largely because sexual assault can take place in a private area without witnesses. A former hostess at a restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida, is alleging that her supervisor sexually accosted her after a shift.
The woman, who was 18 at the time of the assault, claims that the man groped her breast and attempted to force himself on her as he accompanied her to a parking garage. Authorities report that a criminal case is unlikely to gain traction because there were no witnesses to the crime, so the woman’s only recourse is to file a lawsuit. Attorneys report that the woman is seeking $1.5 million in damages.
The woman had only worked at the restaurant for two weeks in early 2012 when the alleged incident occurred. Her lawsuit states that her boss sexually abused, assaulted and harassed her.
Police have not filed any charges in the case because the case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the woman’s attorney. Authorities admit that the woman submitted allegations against the man shortly after the incident occurred, but they could not indict the man on such tenuous charges.
Although it is unfortunate that the criminal system has failed this woman, the civil courts can provide her with financial redress for the wrongs she has suffered. The woman is suing for sexual harassment, but she could also be seeking additional compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of income, because she was forced out of her job.
Source: 6 South Florida, “La Dorada restaurant owner accused of sexual assault in former hostess’ lawsuit,” Diana Gonzalez, Feb. 5, 2013