The former Iowa Senate GOP staffer who won more than $2 million after a jury heard descriptions of sexual harassment in her workplace was offered a fraction of that amount to settle her lawsuit before the trial started.
Kirsten Anderson was the communications director for Republicans in the Iowa Senate. She was fired in May of 2013, about seven hours after she gave her manager a memo outlining complaints about a “toxic” workplace.
Before the trial on her lawsuit started last month, though, Anderson’s lawyer indicated she’d settle out of court for $1.25 million. Attorneys for the state would only offer $100,000, so the case went to trial and Anderson won $2.2 million from the jury.
Last week, lawyers in the Iowa attorney general’s office filed documents seeking a new trial. They contend Anderson’s lawyer inappropriately asked the jury to “send a message” with their verdict. Anderson’s lawyer filed paperwork this week, countering that the opposing legal team could have objected to his statement during the trial, but didn’t.
Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix has said Anderson was fired only because of her poor work, not for complaining about harassment. Dix has directed a senate staffer to investigate the instances of harassment that were brought up during the trial.
Republican Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City has called on Dix to speed things up, since the complaints sat unaddressed for four years.
“Like garbage, the longer this issue sits unaddressed, the more it stinks,” Bertrand said in a statement released this past week.
Bertrand is also the only Republican member in the senate who has called on Dix to resign.