Intercourse employee compensation: Vindication at six-figure settlement

A sex worker received a six-figure sum after being sexually harassed at work. Photo / 123rf

A sex worker who received a six-figure payout after being sexually harassed at work feels vindicated, say those who stood up for her.

Although much of the case is covered by a confidentiality agreement, the Human Rights Trials Office has found that a substantial settlement has been reached between a business owner and a sex worker.

The money is intended to compensate the woman for emotional damage and lost earnings.

Human Rights Trial Director Michael Timmins said the deal was “substantial” and hoped to serve as a benchmark for future cases.

Sexual rights activist and national coordinator for the New Zealand prostitute collective Dame Catherine Healy calls this a “milestone” and a warning to brothel operators to be “very conscious” about respecting labor rights.

Timmins said the harassed worker was incredibly brave in a civil case and was pleased with the outcome.

“The complainant was incredibly brave. It is often difficult for sex workers to stand up for their rights, but in this case the sex worker did, which is extremely important.

“The sex worker would say that she felt validated, and I hope that the sex worker experiences a sense of achievement because of this person’s courage and persistence to get involved in a system that is not easy for complainers, and that this person does still was able to get some justice, “said Timmins.

He said the deal is an important reminder for companies across the country that under human rights law, all workers, regardless of the nature of their work, have the right to do their jobs without sexual harassment in the workplace.

“We encourage all business owners and employers to ensure that they understand and respect these rights,” said Timmins.

“With the #MeToo era, there are more and more complaints about sexual harassment. It’s good that people are bringing these complaints, but it’s also a mark that this is acceptable behavior in companies across the country.”

He said anyone who felt sexually harassed was considering filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. However, he also hoped that companies would “really look at” their cultures, make sure their policies and training are up to date, and not treated as a box-ticking exercise.

“This is indeed another milestone in the context of a country that has supported really advanced legislation to make this type of decision possible.
said Healy.

It increased the need for anyone running a brothel or working with sex workers in a role to conduct a practice audit to ensure that labor rights were respected and that there was no sexual harassment in the workplace.

“We know there have been some sloppy, inappropriate acts that have proven to be the norm or culturally accepted practices. It is a warning to brothel operators and anyone related to a sex worker on the workforce, the sex worker.” being very conscious don’t have to put up with their practices, “she said.

The sex worker case served as a benchmark payout and said the office was a way to force change in a way that reflected the real cost of the harassment.

“Part of what this office is trying to achieve is to take cases to court and win and then increase the harm that is awarded to sexual harassment complainants.

“The current damage limit in New Zealand is around $ 25,000.

“In this case we have settled for a six-figure figure which is sizeable and shows the seriousness of the matter and how we thought it deserved this type of award.”

Timmins said many sexual harassment cases had nondisclosure agreements, but the office wanted to make sure there was some form of public transparency. The best way is to make an agreed statement, he said.

The sex worker originally filed a case against sexual harassment with the Human Rights Commission. However, since the matter remained unresolved, she turned to the Human Rights Trial Bureau to take the case to the Human Rights Court. Before the case was tried, a deal was struck.

He said while there were more sexual harassment cases awaiting hearings in the office, no sex workers had been involved.

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