‘Me too’ evidence can be used at discrimination trial

A woman who sued her employer for sex harassment could have other employees testify at trial that they were harassed too – even though they didn’t work with the woman and she only found out about the other incidents after she was fired.

That’s the word from the California Court of Appeals.

In this case, a Latino-American woman claimed that her employer called her profanities on a regular basis, touched her inappropriately, referred to his employees as “my Mexicans,” and fired her after calling her a “stupid bitch.”

She sued for race and sex discrimination. She wanted to have other women who had worked for the employer testify that they had also experienced insults and sexually inappropriate touching and comments.

A judge initially said the other women couldn’t testify because they worked for the employer at different times from the woman who brought the suit, and she wasn’t aware of the other incidents at the time.

But the Court of Appeals said this was a mistake. It said that the other evidence was very useful, since it suggested that the owner had a propensity toward sexual harassment and a bias against women, and a jury should be allowed to take it into account.