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Woman awarded $500,000 for sexual harassment, alleged rape

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A woman who was sexually harassed and allegedly raped by a boss at a Quiznos restaurant in Norwich was awarded $500,000 by the state Division of Human Rights.

The woman was 19 and a high school senior when she joined the restaurant staff in 2006. Soon after she was hired, Dale Blackwood, her supervisor, began taking her into the back room and talking to her about “her personal history, goals, ambition and self-interest.”  He convinced her to get a cell phone so he could contact her, and later invited her to his apartment.

When she arrived, Blackwood produced a fur vest and a thong for her to wear. She put on the lingerie and let Blackwood photograph her. When she tried to change back into her clothes, she said, he raped her.

She continued to work in the restaurant after the alleged incident. When she refused to return to Blackwood’s apartment, he terminated her.

An administrative law judge awarded the woman $25,000, determining that she had been harassed and raped. Kumiki Gibson, the former New York Human Rights Commissioner, “was outraged by the details of this case” and increased the award to $500,000.

Prosecutors are considering whether to bring criminal charges.

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