A Resolution to Workplace Violence

Editor's Note: This Community Voice was written after the author read Civil Beat's story on the state paying a settlement in a workplace harassment lawsuit. Read the story: It's Your Money: Hawaii Owes $60,000 in Harassment Suit.

People complain about the waste of taxpayers dollars in “frivolous” litigation. Well, $60,000 is but a drop in the bucket in what the DOT paid out on just this one incident.

What most don’t realize is that the complainants in this particular case more than likely did not each take home a $30,000 windfall as their legal fees overall probably far exceeded their awards. There are court costs, deposition costs, lawyer fees, etc. that would eat up the paltry amounts they are set to receive.

Also, from what I read about the amount of money the Governor has requested to settle cases that are already waiting in the wings to be paid out, will they even see any of that money in this fiscal year? What the taxpayers also don’t realize is that they paid for the defense of Ms. Matsuoka and the state departmental (DOT) deputy directors at a much higher financial amount. If there were measures/remedies legislatively in place, the government would not be incurring these expenses.

It is very unfortunate that violence, bullying, and verbal harassment is prevalent in all places of employment. It’s what management chooses to do that determines the outcome. If upper management had done their jobs in the first place in protecting the rights of the employees in this case of workplace violence, things would never have gotten to the point where the employees/victims were forced to find some other method of resolution.

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