The former owners of an Eveleth, MN iron ore mining company represented by Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. have agreed to settle a longstanding class action sexual harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of 15 women employees who worked there during the 1970s.
Plaintiffs charged that they had to carry knives and mace to work in order to defend themselves after they were repeatedly beaten, threatened with rape and murder, called "dogs", denied access to restrooms, inappropriately touched and grabbed by male peers and supervisors.
Several of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome, a condition that often plagues combat veterans and sexual abuse survivors.
Federal law limits sexual harassment awards to $300,000 per individual, but plaintiffs in this particular case were able to win more because the case was tried under Minnesota state law, which does not restrict the amount of money which can be awarded in sexual harassment suits.
Although all parties agreed not to reveal the exact amount of the settlement, sources contacted by the Washington Post estimate that individual plaintiffs will receive more than $300,000 each, and that the total settlement will surpass $1 million.
Media Resources: Washington Post - January 5, 1999