In just the past three years, California’s state government has paid more than $25 million to settle sexual harassment claims against state agencies and public universities, The Sacramento Bee reported after investigating public records. Tax dollars were used to cover approximately $21.3 million, and insurance plans covered roughly $3.9 million.
The 103 settlements found by the newspaper included three at agencies that administer taxes: one (for $94,500) at the State Board of Equalization and two (totaling $110,000) at the Employment Development Department.
Taxpayers are on the hook when the state settles cases, and also when the cases go to trial. Two private-sector employment lawyers told The Bee that when the state doesn’t settle, it “often behaves as though taxpayer resources are limitless in fighting these claims, dragging out cases for years and driving up legal costs for both sides.” (Source: The Sacramento Bee, January 26.)