N.J. AG signs off on sexual harassment settlement

John O'Brien Oct. 19, 2010, 2:58pm


TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Paula Down has announced that Sony Music Holdings will pay a former employee $20,000 to settle allegations that he was harassed because of his sexual orientation.

Sony Music Holdings, doing business as Sony DADC of Pitman, allegedly failed to promote Charles E. Morgan because he was gay. Morgan also alleged that he was harassed in the workplace.

Morgan alleged that his supervisor at Sony blamed his failure to be given full-time employment status at the compact disc manufacturing plant on poor attendance and a lack of qualifications.

Morgan alleged that heterosexual coworkers who had less seniority and equal qualifications, received the positions. Morgan also alleged that Sony suspended him for three days in August 2009 as an act of reprisal.

On at least three different occasions between May 2009-Aug. 2009, Morgan alleges that he approached Sony management to report being harassed on the job about his homosexuality. He also alleged that slurs were written about him in graffiti near the work site and in the bathroom. Another alleged incident involved a coworker telling Morgan, "You're too gay to sit here."

Morgan alleged that no action was taken by Sony and that they denied him promotion to full-time permanent status because of his complaints.

Although it admits no wrongdoing, under terms of the agreement, Sony has already paid Morgan $20,000 and agreed to provide him a neutral reference if contacted by prospective employers in the future.

"This is a fair settlement that resolves serious allegations-allegations of on-the-job bullying and harassment based on a person's sexual orientation and a purported failure by management to effectively deal with the situation," Division on Civil Rights Director Chinh Q. Le said.

"There simply can be no tolerance for the kind of harassment alleged in this case. It is denigrating, it is unlawful and we are committed to holding accountable any employer who fails to address it."

Sony managers claimed they removed a coworker who allegedly was "preaching" to Morgan about his homosexuality and held an employee staff meeting to re-emphasize and redistribute the company's policy on Fair Employment Practices.

Shortly after Morgan's complaint, he was fired as a result of what the company called poor attendance.

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