Ohio State Senator accused of sexual harassment
Columbus, Ohio – An Ohio State Senator faces charges of sexual harassment after his severe and pervasive requests for sex from a former state employee. According to a memo released by the State, the Senator repeatedly asked a female state employee to have sex with him, ultimately culminating in his abrupt resignation amidst her complaints.
State Sen. Cliff Hite was named in a memo issued by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the agency where the young women worked as an attorney, as a perpetrator of sexual harassment. The memo released last Friday as part of a public records request, concerned the months of unwelcomed requests for sex that Sen. Hite made to the State employee.
According to Mark Flanders the author of the memo, Sen. Hite began harassing the young lady in early August and continued through October. Sen. Hite resigned without warning on October 16. Hit issued a statement that he was “dismayed” after reading the memo and disagrees with “many representations” that were made in the complaint.
According to the memo, Hite and the young women “exchanged pleasantries” on the way from the Statehouse garage. Hite then asked the women to look him up on Facebook. She accepted his friend request because they had mutual friends, however, shortly after she accepted his friend request, Hite started sexually harassing her by sending her private messages asking her about her personal life and if she missed him. The young lady eventually blocked Hite and told him that his messages were inappropriate.
After the young lady blocked him, Hite took it upon himself to stop by her office and ask her why she had blocked him. Hite further began asking her to have sex with him at his condominium, telling her that he had an affair while discussing details about his sex life with his wife. According to the memo, Hite spent hours telling her how he was a “grown man with needs” while badgering her for sex, despite her frequent objections to his sexually harassing behavior.
Hite continued his harassing conduct throughout September, often stopping by her office and asking if she’d changed her mind about having sex with him. The young women felt extremely uncomfortable and nervous during the exchanges. The young lady eventually called out sick for two days because of the stress Hite caused her. According to the memo, the young women stated that she knew the conversations were inappropriate but she didn’t know what to do because he was a senator and she didn’t want to embarrass him, she just wanted the situation to go away.
Then, on October 10, Hite invited the young lady to a reception with him, then he hugged her and told her “she felt really good.” The following day Hite brought the young women two bouquets of flowers and asked her to have sex, stating that the flowers were from “your secret admirer.” He later waited in the buildings parking garage in his convertible, asking the young lady if his actions were offensive, which she replied “every minute.” She filed her report against him the same day.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from sexually harassing their employees. Under Title VII, sexual harassment is characterized as gender discrimination. Under Title VII, Hite subjected the women to a hostile work environment. An employer will be liable for creating a hostile work environment when one of their employee’s conduct become so severe and pervasive that a reasonable person would think the conduct is hostile. An employer is liable if 1. the sexually harassing conduct comes from a person within the company who holds a supervisory position or 2. If the employee being harassed reports the conduct to the proper channels and the company fails to take any corrective or preventative action.
Here, because the young lady was a state employee and Hite is a State Senator, the state may be liable for creating a hostile work environment. Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem in American work places. The New York Sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment. Working with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, the Derek Smith Law Group have recovered some of the largest jury verdicts in United States history. If you feel you have been sexually harassed at work please give our talented attorneys a call, toll free, at (800) 807-2209. for a free consultation.
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