Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Many people have theories about why there has been an increase in reported male-on-male sexual harassment lawsuits. Some blame tough economic times for the sudden increase, while others believe such occurrences are common just never talked about. Others even refuse to believe sexual harassment of any kind can happen in the workplace. Regardless of how you feel personally, judges and juries around the country believe that male-on-male sexual harassment is a very real and dangerous phenomenon.
On March 30, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Dunn ruled in favor of Deputy Robert Lyznick who was sexually harassed for several months in 2007 by his male supervisor, Sgt. Charles Dery. The deputy was awarded $350,000 by Judge Dunn, an amount for which both the county and Dery are jointly liable.
Assigned to the Metrolink station in 2006 after he was demoted for punching a deputy in East Los Angeles, Dery met Lyznick and his brother who were officers who patrolled the various Metrolink trains that passed through the Chatsworth station. The officers provided protection for passengers, patrolled for illegal activity and verified if passengers had paid their fares. Dery allegedly made sexual comments, touched Lyznick inappropriately and discussed lewd sexual acts while on duty.
Dery filed a countersuit against Lyznick, his brother, and motorcycle shop owner Mark Shiva. Dery claimed the three men destroyed his reputation and defamed him with their allegations. Dery’s legal team contended that the Lyznicks were facing difficult financial times and that is why they pursued a sexual harassment suit, although Lyznick was not the first to complain about Dery, according to the lawsuit. Attorneys for Dery say that the sergeant retired, while Lyznick’s lawyers claim that the allegations were the reason he quit. Judge Dunn found all three men named in the countersuit not liable.