Filing a lawsuit for South Florida sexual assault in the workplace is a daunting prospect. Ultimately though, many plaintiffs find it provides vindication, justice, and much-deserved compensation for the physical pain and emotional trauma suffered in a place they had every right to expect safety.
A recent high-profile example of alleged sexual assault in the workplace made headlines recently. Singer, celebrity, and American Idol star Paula Abdul recently filed a lawsuit, alleging repeated incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment involving a television executive. Named defendants in the Superior Court of Los Angeles sexual assault lawsuit include the executive as well as several production and media companies that employed and/or contracted with both Abdul and the executive on two separate popular TV shows.
According to the complaint, Abdul contracted with the two hit entertainment competition shows, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, which she worked on from 2002 to 2009. She alleged she was bullied, harassed, and unfairly compensated almost from the start of the show. Much of the harassment stemmed, she alleges, came from this one particular TV executive. This included verbal sexual harassment, but also sexual abuse, she says.
During one early season regional competition, she alleges the executive approached her when she was alone in an elevator, forced her against a wall, groped her, and shoved his tongue down her throat. She fled the elevator in tears and immediately called one of her reps. However, she ultimately decided to take no immediate action for fear of being “blackballed.”
A few years later, when she was in talks to contract on the second show, the executive invited her to his home for what he thought was a business meeting. The two talked about the show and their professional collaboration. However, toward the end of the evening, the executive reportedly forced himself on top of her while she was seated on the couch and tried to kiss her. She rejected him and immediately left. Again, she did not report this incident, fearing retaliation and ostracization in an industry known to protect powerful men. (Our Palm Beach sexual assault attorneys would note this points to just how powerful such fears can be, considering they impacted even an international superstar.)
In another incident, she says the same executive sexually assaulted her assistant, pressing up against her and groping her from behind in an unwanted advance.
In her sexual assault lawsuit, Abdul alleges that not only was the executive liable, but so too are the media and production companies, saying each is responsible in some manner for one or more of the events, either approving or ratifying the conduct of other defendants.