The School Board in Palm Beach County recently took action to fire or suspend a total of five employees for different reasons. One of the employees, a male cafeteria worker, was terminated based on sexual harassment accusations. The worker, however, has denied the claims.

Another employee of this Florida school district was terminated after being convicted of drunk driving. In addition, a school custodian was served a three-day suspension for allegedly showing up to work under the influence of drugs and failing a drug test. A teacher was suspended for continuing to talk on her mobile phone during class time, even though she had been reprimanded for the behavior. Another woman was suspended for reporting to work late on 11 different occasions.

The various suspensions and terminations are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 24. Until that time, employees will be given the chance to appeal the punishments or terminations. As of Jan. 8, the only employee who had been contacted for comment was the cafeteria worker, who has flat-out denied the sexual harassment allegations lodged against him.

It is rare that anyone accused of sexual harassment would admit to committing such inappropriate behavior. Indeed, those who report sexual harassment cases, regardless of their place of employment, are sometimes accused of drumming up the claims just to get the individual in trouble for political or vindictive reasons. While it certainly takes a lot of courage to report instances of sexual harassment that occur in Florida workplaces, the end result is always better than keeping silent. Even if an employee is retaliated against or loses his or her job after reporting such conduct, the victim has the option of seeking financial restitution in a civil court setting for any monetary damages sustained.

Source: Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach County School Board fires, suspends 5 employees, Karen Yi, Jan. 8, 2014