A woman who worked as a personal assistant to Donald Sterling, the billionaire former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has filed a lawsuit that claims she was subjected to harassment while working for him. The woman apparently had a romantic relationship with the man for a number of years, and she also ended up employed by him as an assistant.
Now, she says that he made comments while she was working for him that were inappropriate. Some of those comments were allegedly sexual in nature, while others were racial.
The pair apparently met back in 2005, when the woman was married. However, she says that Sterling indicated that she could leave her husband if she wanted to be involved with him instead. Their romantic relationship appears to have overlapped with the time that she was employed and worked for a foundation that Sterling ran.
The woman had been married to an African American man before pursuing Sterling, and the couple had had children together. She says that Sterling insulted her for this, making negative comments about African Americans. She says that he also demanded that she perform various sexual acts even though he was then in a relationship with someone else.
This case is very interesting because it shows how personal relationships and official employer-to-employee relationships can grow hostile or inappropriate when brought together. However, it also shows that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, regardless of a couple’s background. Those who are employed and feel that they are facing this type of harassment should know what rights they have, regardless of their past relationships with their employers.
Source: NBA, “Sterling Accused of Racism, Sexual Harassment in New Lawsuit” Kelly Goff, Jun. 03, 2014