Feeds

Harassed Oracle employee wins case, cops huge legal bill

'A very high price to pay for her victory' says Judge

High performance access to file storage

Rebecca Richardson, the former Oracle employee who recently won a case against the company over sexual harassment committed by a former colleague, found out late last week that it was a pyrrhic victory after being hit with a monster legal bill.

Richardson's case against Oracle, which was liable for the actions of a harassing employee, was decided in February, when she won $AUD18,000 in damages after a series of suggestive comments made by a male colleague and a weak response by Oracle Australia. The matter returned to court in early April for a decision on costs. During those proceedings it emerged that Richardson had rejected settlement offers from Oracle for more than the $18,000 she was eventually awarded.

Justice Buchanan's decision points out that Oracle's best offer, $85,000, would still have left Richardson with a big legal bill as she had run up over $224,000 in expenses at the time of that offer.

But Australian law makes it hard to recover costs incurred after an offer is rejected, especially if any subsequent costs award is lower than a settlement offer.

Oracle paid the costs up to the point of the offer, in 2010, but Richardson is now left to pay much of the costs for proceedings after that date, including Oracle's costs.

Justice Buchanan offered the following observation about the case:

“Subject to the outcome of any appeal, the final outcome of these proceedings, in financial terms at least, will probably be devastating for Ms Richardson both financially and personally. Although the findings made in the earlier judgment provide public vindication of her position, she will remain solely responsible for the payment of the bulk of her own legal costs and obliged to pay a high proportion of the legal costs of the respondents. That will be a very high price to pay for her victory.”

That price will likely run into tens of thousands of dollars, but Buchanan said “There is no occasion, either, to diminish the level of protection to which the respondents are entitled by reference to the fact that Ms Richardson’s claims to have been sexually harassed were, without exception, upheld.”

The Reg has asked Oracle to comment on the story and will bring you news of any statement as it arrives. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.