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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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County Property Appraiser Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $135,000

Last spring, the office of the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser was rocked by the sexual harassment claims of Carolyn Filippone.  Although the case had been pending for nearly two years, it did not make front page news until Property Appraiser, Rob Turner, fired his paramour, Carolyn Filippone.

Turner made a huge mistake by firing her as her attorneys were contemplating whether to move forward with a lawsuit.  Prior to the termination decision, Filippone’s claims were limited to sexual harassment.  Thus, the question was whether she could advance a meritorious sexual harassment case against her boss although she had an affair with him.  At this stage, this case had strengths and weaknesses for both parties.   After the EEOC dismissed her case, Filippone had 3 months to decide whether to file a lawsuit.  The decision became a lot easier when Turner fired Filippone before the expiration of the 90 days.  Now Filippone was able to add a retaliation claim to her sexual harassment case.  See Tampa Woman Considers Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Claims Against County Official; Retaliation Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court in Property Appraiser Case; Filippone complaint.

After a few short months, the Property Appraiser’s office decided that settlement was the prudent course of action.  According to the Tampa Bay Times, the parties attended a mediation conference and settled for $135,000.

Sexual harassment occurs when one employee makes continued, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, to another employee, against his or her wishes.  Retaliation occurs when an employer takes some form of adverse action against an employee for asserting his rights under harassment or discrimination law.

If you have questions about sexual harassment or retaliation, you may call Rich Bradford at (813) 413-2402.

Bradford & Bradford’s practice areas include, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Employment Law, and Family Law.

 

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Retaliation Lawsuit Filed in Tampa Federal Court Against Hillsborough County Property Appraiser

It looks like Hillsborough Property Appraiser, Rob Turner, has battles on two fronts.  He is seeking another term as the County Property Appraiser and given the stories that recently appeared in the local papers, Mr. Turner will have an uphill battle.  See Storms, Turner at Bell Shoals Baptist for First Election Square Off.  Second, a week ago Carolyn Filippone filed a retaliation lawsuit against Mr. Turner’s office.

There is little doubt that Mr. Turner is  regretting his decision to fire Ms. Filippone.   I previously noted that there was no question that Ms. Filippone would file suit against Mr. Turner.  The only real question was when the suit would be filed.  As previously noted, Ms. Fillippone brought an EEOC charge against Mr. Turner alleging sexual harassment.  Among other things, Mr. Turner confessed to sending porn to Ms. Fillippone.  The EEOC dismissed Ms. Fillippone’s charge in April 2012.  For some reason Mr. Turner believed that the EEOC dismissal gave him the right to fire Ms. Fillippone without worrying about legal exposure.  Mr. Turner failed to understand that the EEOC dismissal letter initiated a 90-day clock in which Ms. Filippone may file a lawsuit in state or federal court.  Mr. Turner also did not understand that the EEOC dismisses approximately 99.99% of the discrimination charges that cross their desk and tell the employee to find an attorney and file a lawsuit.

If he did not fire her, there is a good chance that she would have allowed the 90 day clock to run without filing suit.  Although Mr. Turner confessed to sending Ms. Filippone porn, she still had hurdles to overcome in order to prove a case for sexual harassment.  Mr. Turner committed the quintessential error by terminating Ms. Filippone’s employment.  Simply stated, retaliation cases are easier to prove than harassment cases.  A plaintiff in a retaliation case does not have to show that she would have prevailed in the harassment case.   Mr. Turner should have consulted his attorneys before making the decision to fire Ms. Filippone.   I doubt the County is ready to deal with yet another costly employment case following the misconduct of one of its officials.

For specific questions on Labor and Employment Law, please call me, Rich Bradford at (813) 413-2402.

Bradford & Bradford’s practice areas include, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Employment Law, and Family Law.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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