According to the Wave Newspapers, an entrepreneur and civil rights activist has lost a sexual harassment and intentional tort battery lawsuit and faces a continuation hearing to determine the total amount of damages he must pay. Tony Wafford, with close ties to the Rev. Al Sharpton and other religious and political figures in the Southland, heads the Wafford Consulting and the Palms Residential Care Center. Wafford was sued last fall by one of his former employees, Sharon Song Byrd, for sexual harassment and battery. A jury returned a verdict in Byrd’s favor after a nine-day trial.
Byrd held the program administrator position at the Palms Residential Care Center. Byrd accused Wafford of unwanted sexual advances and that he took his penis out of his pants in his office and told her to come and sit on it. Byrd told the jury that she continued to turn down her employer’s quid pro quo sexual harassment and advances, but that he struck her on the hand. Byrd claims that Wafford hit her on the hand with a huge diamond ring he wears and that such battery caused her inoperable nerve damage. Byrd made a police report about the incident and paramedics responded to Wafford’s attack on Byrd. The jury found that he had committed a battery when he hit her and that he will pay all her medical bills and for the services of a psychologist to restore her emotional health, in addition to pain and suffering, emotional distress and other non-economic damages.
Kesluk & Silverstein – Los Angeles employment attorney