What’s in a name? Legal settlement just the same

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A Chicago ambulance service has decided to settle a lawsuit after a federal judge nixed the novel argument that some other company must have been responsible for alleged sexual harassment of its employees.

Several current and former female employees of Jay Medicar accused a former manager of demanding sex in return for favorable assignments and pay raises. In March 2010, the EEOC sued on the women’s behalf. Conciliation efforts failed and the case was scheduled to go to trial.

That’s when the company’s attorneys moved to have the lawsuit dismissed. Their reasoning: When the alleged harassment occurred, the company was incorporated as Jay Medi-car. The lawyers argued that the current Jay Medicar was not a “successor in interest” to the old company and therefore not liable for the harassment.

Federal Judge William Hibbler was unpersuaded by the missing hyphen, ruling that the case should go forward. That’s when the company’s owners decided to settle, agreeing to pay the women $70,000.

Note: The ambulance company—whatever it’s called—might have saved that $70,000 and whatever it paid its crack legal team by quickly investigating the women’s complaints and fixing any problems.

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