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Ex-captain at Florida ABT denies claims of sexual harassment

A former captain at Florida's Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is contesting accusations that he is guilty of sexual harassment. The captain was terminated from his employment on July 1, after being accused of creating hostile work conditions and allegedly subjecting his co-workers to sexual harassment and racial discrimination at the Orlando, Florida office he managed. The Captain claims that he did not do anything inappropriate and says he will file an appeal to regain his employment.

The man's attorney is claiming that the sexual harassment allegations were politically motivated and could be construed as retaliation by the man's subordinates who were not happy with his workplace disciplinary methods. The man's attorney says that they will be filing an appeal before July 21. They will request that the captain get his job back, receive back pay for lost wages, in addition to costs and attorneys fees related to the litigation.

When a victim of sexual harassment and/or workplace discrimination files a complaint or legal action against his or her harasser, it is not uncommon for the accused to lodge a strong defense against those allegations. Defense attorneys will attempt to cast doubt on the veracity of sexual harassment allegations in order to preserve their clients' statuses, jobs and keep their clients' names and records clear of such accusations. In this case, subordinates claimed that the captain referred to one employee as 'special Asian,' said another African American employee would receive a promotion due to her racial background, and called another employee 'hot blonde.' A subordinate also alleged that the man asked a subordinate if she was watching pornography while thinking about him.

Victims of sexual harassment at the work place can bolster their claims when fellow co-workers have also come forward with similar complaints. Also, it is common for the person being accused of sexual harassment to deny such claims, fight aggressively against them in court, and do everything in their power to keep their jobs and their reputations intact. Still, Florida victims owe it to themselves and their fellow co-workers to report instances of sexual harassment and pursue legal action where it is appropriate.

Source: tallahassee.com, "Update: Fired ABT captain says harassment allegations are untrue," Jeff Burlew, July 12, 2013

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