The products liability chair at Buchalter APC, a law firm in Los Angeles, California, has been sued for sexually harassing and verbally abusing a subordinate. Karen Hurdle, a legal analyst and later senior legal administrator of products liability, alleges the firm was aware of the harassing coworker’s actions, but chose to protect him instead.
Hurdle’s suit claims that her supervisor (and Buchalter shareholder) Gary Wolensky gave her assignments along with sexually inappropriate comments. The messages encouraged her to complete an assignment and then perform sex acts, called her sexual slurs and otherwise harassed her. Management was aware of the issue; according to the complaint, they laughed when Wolensky stated he didn’t need to take sexual harassment training because he had insurance. Other coworkers witnessed Wolensky’s harassment toward Hurdle.
During her time at Buchalter, Hurdle suffered from health issues and underwent operations. Wolensky threatened her with a “war” and even wrote a public LinkedIn post calling her out by name. Hurdle says she defended herself and Wolensky threatened to fire her. Then he claimed he was having a bad day. Hurdle went on medical leave.
Hudle’s suit covers “sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of sex, harassment on the basis of disability and retaliation for requesting accommodations, as well as failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation.” In other words, Buchalter knew about Wolensky’s conduct, yet chose to do nothing about it.
Hurdle was issued a “right to sue” letter on July 15, from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. She filed suit the following Monday, and is asking for injunctive relief and punitive damages, among other remedies.
If your workplace is unfairly targeting you, or engaging in retaliation and harassment, help is available. Talk to a seasoned whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group to find out more about your legal options.