Columbus pays $150K to settle harassment claim

COLUMBUS (AP) — Columbus city officials have approved paying $150,000 to settle a federal sexual-harassment lawsuit involving a municipal court judge.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that former court reporter Brenda Williams sued two years ago, claiming there was a hostile workplace in the courtroom of Environmental Judge Harland Hale. She accused city officials of covering up or failing to act on her complaints that Hale had sexually harassed her and made racial slurs. Williams is Hispanic.

Judge Hale was not named as a defendant in this lawsuit because he — along with a group of other judges and the court administrator — settled out of court with Williams for more than $138,000.

City officials also took steps Monday to ensure that Franklin County Municipal Court employees can no longer be city liabilities.

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