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back to article Harassed Oracle worker to appeal costs, damages decisions

The case of Australian Rebecca Richardson, the former Oracle employee who won an $18,000 settlement after being sexually harassed by a colleague, will return to court in an attempt to overturn a decision that Richardson must pay some of her harasser's costs. The appeal will also seek a new damages award. As we have reported …

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Re: This case proves...

So you would like to see a large corporate able to effectively defend an employee against a charge of harassment really on the grounds that they have more money to spend? Or perhaps where somebody is bullied and harassed they just have to put up with it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This case proves...

> We need fewer lawyers and less political correctness, which fuels madness like this.

No, we need less dickheads sexually harassing people.

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Re: This case proves...

Any harassment is bad... and must be avoided, but conversely we must also not sleep walk into a world where no one can make a joke or even compliment someone without fear of reprimand and lawsuits......

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Re: This case proves...

There's one thing right now that I'd happily have fewer of: your moronic comments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This case proves...

"BAH! We need fewer AC's that's for sure."

There's no need for an apostrophe in that sentence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This case proves...

"We need fewer lawyers and less political correctness, which fuels madness like this."

Hi Eadon,

Did you not forget to mention "and less Windows users"?

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A Rose Is A Rose...

"Harmers Workplace Lawyers"

Well what's in a name, eh? They still smell as sweet, right?

Although I would think it might be more appropriate if they represented the defendant, as opposed to the plaintiff. Unless they wanted to highlight their ability to charge their clients orders of magnitude more than the judgements the plaintiffs can expect to be awarded.

So it's a bit of a riddle.

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Anonymous Coward

When in a hole stop digging...

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Apologies to the Alan Parsons Project...

And they think it will make their lives easier

For God knows up till now it's been hard

But the game never ends when your whole world depends

On the turn of a friendly tort

No the game never ends when your whole world depends

On the turn of a friendly tort

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FAIL

Justice and The Law

Law often says in cases like this, where an offer of settlement exceeds the amount of compensation awarded, the claimant is responsible for costs of trying to get a better award than they were offered; they incurred the additional costs of both parties on a gamble that did not pay off. And if that is the case it seems she doesn't have a leg to stand on.

The specific problem in this case is she had legal costs ($224K) which exceeded the offer made, but that is not the defendant's problem. Their offer ($85) was generous set against the court ordered award ($18K) and the court has to recognise that. The defendants spent money saying that she shouldn't have got more than they offered and the judge agreed so why should they pay the cost of proving that; they won that part of the legal battle and the loser pays costs.

How she ran up legal costs so high before the offer is a bit of a mystery and it seems they will go higher if the appeal is thrown out and I would guess it will be. I have seen people misled by solicitors promising things which would never be delivered and this may be a case of that or maybe their client is instructing them to continue despite being told it's largely hopeless to do so.

It's an unfortunate case but she won't be the first to have been caught out through over-optimism. If it was on the basis of bad or flawed legal advice she may be able to take her own solicitors to court. Unfortunately in cases like this it means spending ever increasing amount of money and still with no guarantee of coming out ahead of the game.

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Big Brother

Re: Justice and The Law

Any time the victim ends up paying to fight the injustice, we all loose.

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Re: Justice and The Law

@Jason Bloomberg

I believe she claimed for all costs totaling $224k, not just legal costs. These costs included the loss of earnings when she quit her job and took a lower paid job elsewhere. As such the $224k isn't likely to be upheld.

The problem with out of court settlements are they are made 'without prejudice' so they are not admitting guilt. This means she can't then publicise what happened, either through media or biography as any allegation she made would be 'unproven'. By proving her case in court, she is now free to report the events through the media and so will force Oracle to change their behavior. In short, the court case will help protect others from such abuse, or encourage them to come forward with their own cases. It might be possible for her to sell her story to help recoup costs, but as the media have already had open access to the case (or so it seems), there's probably not a lot of interest any more. Or rather, nothing that won't further embarrass the woman in question.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Justice and The Law

It's possible that she retained 'the best in the business' who are expensive by virtue of being 'the best in the business'. Now if she was offered a no-win-no-fee option and didn't take it, that's between her and her lawyers. Ahh well...

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Re: Justice and The Law

Any time the victim ends up demanding a lottery win sized payday to fight the injustice, we all loose lose.

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Re: Justice and The Law

Pray you are never on the wrong end of something like this.

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@Stratman

It would need at least one more zero on the end before being a lottery sized payday. And given legal fees, is actually not unreasonable. Non-court time for lawyers starts at $250 an hour and goes up. Court time starts at $400/hour and goes up. And those are bottom of the barrel lawyers, not the sort of people you'd want actually arguing a valid claim.

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