County settles sexual harassment suit for $350K

Accusations centered on human services and contractors.

EVERETT — Snohomish County has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by two women who accused a male supervisor at the human services department of years of inappropriate workplace behavior.

The total combined settlement for the county and two other organizations was $800,000.

The legal complaint described a pattern of unwanted hugging, kissing and comments. The women said they were threatened with retaliation, including the loss of their jobs, when they tried to make it stop. They said other managers, supervisors and some co-workers contributed to the intimidating workplace atmosphere.

They did not work directly for the county. They were employed by Lutheran Community Services and later the Stillaguamish Senior Center, with whom the county contracted at different times for programs.

Under the agreement, the county agreed to pay $350,000. The County Council approved the settlement last week. The Daily Herald obtained a copy under state public records laws.

The agreement includes payment of $300,000 from SeaTac-based Lutheran Community Services.

The Stillaguamish Senior Center settled separately for $150,000.

County officials declined to comment on the agreement, but confirmed that the supervisor continues to work at the human services department. A spokesman for Lutheran Community Services did not return calls for comment. An administrator at the Stillaguamish Senior Center referred questions to an attorney.

The women filed their lawsuit last year in King County Superior Court.

It alleges years of verbal and physical harassment before the fall of 2015, when each filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint at the county. One of the women said she was excluded from essential training as a result. Both said they felt their job security was threatened. They alleged that the county and other defendants should have been aware of the allegations, but failed to address them.

The settlements include no admission of wrongdoing by the defendants. The women agreed to drop all claims. They were represented by Seattle-based attorney Robin Williams Phillips.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Timely police reform; Ferguson weighs in on drug possession

Here’s what’s happening on Day 101 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

George Floyd. This is a selfie in the public domain. 20210420
Snohomish County reacts: ‘Justice served’ by guilty verdict

Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty Tuesday in the death of George Floyd.

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Club president Zachary Nelson explains to a pair of students how the currency works while handing out free cryptocurrency at the University of Washington Bothell on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Crypto’s wild ride: It’s winning fans from here to Wall Street

Digital currency is worth trillions to traders betting on Dogecoin, Bitcoin and other blockchains.

With desks stacked away to provide social distance spacing, tenth grader Zendon Bugge attends a World History class during the first day of school for Everett High students on Monday, April 19, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Students statewide returned to school buildings on Monday

Districts are now required to provide in-person class two days a week for kids through grade 12.

Langley has become a passport hotspot for off-islanders

In Snohomish County, appointments are reportedly booked out months in advance.

Snohomish County kicks off new rental assistance program

It starts with nearly $25 million from the U.S. Treasury Department. More funding is expected soon.

Witness, shell casing tie murder to Central Whidbey

A 67-year-old Freeland man whose body was found in Blaine may have been shot near the Coupeville Ferry.

Drivers go around a roundabout at 204th Street NE and 77th Avenue NE on Monday, April 12, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
As Amazon moves in, Arlington’s roads are already strained

The city and state are spending millions to improve traffic flow with more lanes and roundabouts.

One crime, two very different punishments for Everett teens

Two young men went on an armed robbery spree. One was sentenced to seven years in prison. The other, zero.

Most Read