Woman Alleges Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Termination Suit

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of a sexual harassment case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this sexual harassment case and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Serrie made an unspecified demand for back pay, front pay and past and future emotional distress.


On April 7, 2009, plaintiff Alexa Serrie, 30, was terminated from her job as a marketer and translator for DEF Concepts Inc. and GHI Sales in Newport Beach.

In January 2005, Serrie, who lived out of the country, met Cameron Crew, who owned DEF and GHI, on an Internet dating website that caters to men who want to meet foreign women.

On Oct. 27, 2006, Serrie left her homeland and arrived in the United States on an H1-B work visa that Crew had obtained for her. Serrie lived at Crew’s house in Coto de Caza for a short time before starting work at Crew’s companies and moving into an apartment managed by MNO International Management Corporation, which Crew also owned.

As she worked at DEF and GHI, Serrie and Crew were involved in an on-again-off-again romantic relationship and even got engaged.

In early April 2009, Crew and Serrie went to San Diego and stayed in a hotel together. Reportedly, she refused to have sex with him. The following Monday, Crew allegedly wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, indicating that Serrie’s employment had been terminated and that her H1-B work visa should be cancelled. On Tuesday, he called her into his office and broke off their engagement right before a supervisor fired her. Soon thereafter, Crew notified Serrie that she had to move out of her apartment. Also, her car, which Crew owned, was repossessed.

Serrie sued Crew, DEF, GHI and MNO for wrongful termination, sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual harassment by a property manager. (Either before or during trial, plaintiff’s counsel dismissed causes of action for fraud and deceit, violation of Sec. 970 of the California Labor Code, discrimination and retaliation in housing, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Plaintiff’s counsel asserted that the termination, eviction and car repossession were unjustified and entirely based on Serrie’s refusal to have sex with Crew.

The defense responded that Serrie did not refuse to have sex with Crew, who had justifiable reasons to terminate Serrie because she spent unacceptable workday hours on the Internet coupled with a significant downturn in company operations that led to employee layoffs.

The lawyers also argued that Serrie manipulated Crew as a means to come to — and live in — the U.S.

She alleged that the experience caused insomnia, depression, nightmares and the aggravation of a back injury. She reported that Crew hired detectives to follow her, causing paranoia.

Her salary was about $30,000 a year.

Plaintiff’s counsel also asked for punitive damages in the case that the jury found malice or quid pro quo on the wrongful termination claim.

The defense denied any physical or emotional damages, noting that Serrie never complained of any issues to the human resources department at work.

RESULT: Verdict-Plaintiff
Award Total: $125,000
The jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict for wrongful termination and sexual harassment in the workplace, but rejected sexual harassment by a landlord and malice.

The jury awarded $125,000 in damages. There was no award for punitive damages.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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