Woman awarded thousands in lawsuit against the California Conservation Corps | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Woman awarded thousands in lawsuit against the California Conservation Corps

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A former California Conservation Corps supervisor and South Shore resident who was fired after reporting sexual harassment at the agency’s Tahoe Basin Center has been awarded $159,000.

A Sacramento County Superior Court jury returned its verdict Tuesday after two days of deliberation over the 2008 lawsuit filed against the agency by 66-year-old Margaret Grodzik.

In the suit, Grodzik contends the center’s former director, Gary Ray, fired her in 2007 because she filed harassment complaints against the conservation corps and helped others who had been discriminated against do the same.

Several female corps members “were subjected to rape, harassment and retaliation” by their male counterparts, according to the suit.

“No corrective action was taken and as a result, many of the women suffered injury,” according to the suit.

The suit also alleges Ray, who is one of three conservation corps employees named in the suit, covered up drug use and sales by several corps members and did not provide legally required medical accommodations for Grodzik, who has a heart condition and diabetes.

California Conservation Corps spokesman Jimmy Champ did not comment on all of the details of the lawsuit on Thursday, but defended the agency’s response to reports of sexual harassment and assault at the center.

He said he was aware of one incident of sexual harassment and one incident of sexual assault at the Tahoe Basin Center. He said each incident has been resolved according to the agency’s policies.

“It’s unfortunate what happened in the past and we’re moving forward and doing good work,” Champ said.

The Conservation Corps employees named in the suit no longer work at the center, Champ added. Ray resigned about two years ago for a variety of reasons unrelated to the lawsuit, Champ said.

“In general, I think the center wasn’t operating as it should,” Champ said.

Although Grodzik spoke briefly with the Tribune on Wednesday, she declined to discuss specifics on the case on Thursday, saying she was unable to reach her attorney.

A hearing is expected in the next 60 days to determine the amount of additional compensation for Grodzik’s attorney fees, Champ said.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.￿

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