Student employees claim GW subjected them to ‘sexually hostile workplace’ in lawsuit

Five current and former female student employees are suing the University, claiming that officials did not take action against a male student employee who allegedly raped three students and harassed and stalked eight others.

In a lawsuit filed in the D.C. Superior Court last Thursday, five anonymous women allege that a male student employee in the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Institute for International Economic Policy sexually assaulted and harassed multiple student employees and created a “sexual rating of his female coworkers from best to worst.”

The women, referred to in the suit as Jane Does 1 through 5, claim that though the University was aware of the harassment, officials ignored the complaints and instead told the female students not to come to work if they felt uncomfortable.

“Even worse than GW’s attempt to conceal the misconduct occurring on its campus workplace, GW retaliated against the plaintiffs for complaining of the sexually hostile workplace and attempted to silence them,” the lawsuit states.

The women claim that the University created a hostile work environment, violated the D.C. Human Rights Act and federal Title IX policies, and failed to train and supervise its employees. The plaintiffs ask for $5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages.

“Plaintiffs, all of whom are on financial aid and participating in a federal work study program through GW, have been subjected to a dangerous and sexually hostile workplace at GW,” the lawsuit states.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar could not be immediately reached for comment but told The Washington Post Friday that “the University is committed to fully supporting any survivors and providing an equitable process for those who are accused.”

An initial scheduling conference is scheduled for Aug. 24.

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