The Flordia State Attorney’s Office settled three sexual harassment lawsuits for $75,000 each for a total of $225,000. The three women, Brenda Keys, Gena Duncan and Barbara Chase alleged that former State Attorney Steve Meadows sexually harassed and retaliated against them because of their complaints. Meadows is no longer the State's attorney as he was defeated in last Novembers election.
Keys’ and Duncan’s claims were investigated by the Florda State Human Relations Commission ("FSHRC") last year, which found evidence to support their allegations and cleared the way for the lawsuits to be filed. The commission’s investigative report mentioned Chase, which allowed her to also file her own lawsuit. The FSHRC is analagous to the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") in that it investigates claims of employment discrimination and determines if there is substantial evidence to allow the employee to file with either the state court or Illinois Human Rights Commission for trial.
“We looked at the individual claims, the HRC report and things we learned as we were investigating these claims,” Hess said. “We felt that the claim of a sexually oppressive workplace was going to be difficult to defend. We reached a settlement that we felt was fair to those women in the harassment claims and which we could live with.”