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Oracle to pay $130,000 plus costs in staff sexual harassment suit

Three judges increase compensation for Australian woman hassled ten times

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Australia's Federal Court has awarded a former Oracle staffer $AUD130,000 to compensate her for distress caused by sexual harassment from a colleague.

The case of plaintiff Rebecca Richardson came to our attention in February 2013, when Oracle was ordered to pay her $AUD18,000 in damages after a colleague harassed her at least ten times. Oracle's handling of the incidents was found to be imperfect and, as the harassment was conducted by an employee, the company was vicariously liable.

Two months later, the court ruled Ms Richardson must pay her own costs, a decision the Judge remarked represented “A very high price to pay for her victory”.

Richardson decided to appeal and judgement in that case landed yesterday.

The news is good for Richardson, as the decision reached by three judges increased the damages payable to $AUD130,000. Oracle has also been ordered to pay Richardson's costs, likely to run well into six figures.

On Vulture South's reading of the case, the judges felt that the previous judgement did not properly compensate Richardson for the distress the incidents caused, especially as her post-harassment state of mind didn't do wonders for her sex life. The previous compensation was also felt to be an error by the judge.

Oracle declined to comment on the case. ®

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