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Harassed Oracle worker to appeal costs, damages decisions

Lawyers 'incredibly supportive concerning my legal fees'

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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 previously, Oracle staffer Randol Tucker made numerous inappropriate comments to and advances towards Richardson, who was awarded $18,000 in damages.

That decision did not conclude the case, as there was still the matter of costs to decide. That decision found Richardson was liable for some of her harasser's costs, because she had rejected previous offers for a larger settlement. Those costs are likely to be far higher than the $18,000 damages award. The Judge stated it was unfortunate that this should be the case, but that his hands were tied by the law.

Richardson and her lawyers, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, have now issued a statement saying, in part, that “Both the main decision of the judge [on the amount of damages], and the Costs decision, will be appealed. The comments of the judge relating to the issue of legal fees and our arrangements with our client will be a specific ground of appeal.”

Richardson has also hinted that the costs decision may not have created immediate financial hardship, saying “Harmers has been incredibly supportive of me in these difficult times. That support has been legal, emotional and importantly, the financial arrangements concerning my legal fees.”

A representative of Harmers declined to describe the nature of those financial arrangements.

Oracle Australia has told The Register it will not issue a statement on the matter. ®

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