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MHRC rules against City of Portland on Falmouth man’s charge of sexual harassment

Yesterday, the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) found reasonable grounds to believe that the City of Portland subjected David Tanguay, of Falmouth, to sexual harassment in violation of the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA). Mr. Tanguay, a former trash collector with the City, alleged that his female supervisor sexually harassed him by, among other things, drawing a penis on his evaluation. After he complained about his supervisor’s harassment, he found that someone had put pornographic DVDs in his locker with notes taped to them, one of which called him a “fag” and another threatened him if he didn’t stop complaining about his supervisor.

The Commissioners on the MHRC sided with MHRC investigator, Barbara Lelli, and the findings in her report. Ms. Lelli concluded that the City of Portland did not do enough to stop the harassment or remedy the hostile work environment when it became aware of what was happening.

As anyone who has gone through it can tell you, working in a hostile work environment where you are subjected to sexual harassment can be incredibly stressful. Even a “big guy,” as Mr. Tanguay describes himself, can suffer extreme emotional distress when his supervisor or co-workers harass him. Sexual harassment violates both Maine and federal law. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about your rights.