Sexual harassment can happen in any industry and to just about anyone. Here in California, some of the cases that have gotten the most media attention have been in the entertainment and tech industries and have involved men harassing women.
However, one case of alleged harassment that’s gotten some notoriety recently doesn’t involve any of those elements. A former chief revenue officer at a California cannabis company has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and multiple illegal workplace actions. The company, which used to be Indus Holdings, is now Lowell Farms.
Plaintiff alleges multiple incidents of sexual harassment of himself and others
According to the lawsuit, the wife of the company’s chief compliance officer repeatedly made sexual propositions to him during his time there in 2021. The plaintiff says she implied that he’d lose his job if he told anyone about the advances, which included videos and photos.
He also says that during an overnight stay at the home of one of the company’s founders, a member of the board came into his room nude and “heavily impaired” and then got into bed with him. He says that nothing was done about it when he reported it because of the board member’s close connection to the chairman.
In his lawsuit, the plaintiff claims there were other victims of sexual harassment. He says two female colleagues told him they were being harassed by a manager. He says they were also told nothing could be done because of the alleged harasser’s connections to the chairman. He claims that both women lost their jobs and were required to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Lawsuit claims retaliatory termination
The plaintiff says that he was fired in September of last year “in retaliation for reporting, opposing, and witnessing the defendants’ violations of law.” He claims that he was the victim of “severe and pervasive sexual harassment, both hostile work environment and quid pro quo, as a result of unwanted sexual advances and other discriminatory conduct.”
People at all levels of an organization can be victims of sexual harassment by people even higher up – or those who have close ties with those higher up. However, no one is above the law. While you may not be able to prevent someone from firing you or taking other retaliatory action for reporting prohibited behavior, you have a right to seek justice and compensation.