DAVIDAR SETTLES SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE OUT OF COURT.
THE SEXUAL harassment lawsuit against sacked Penguin Canada president David Davidar, which made headlines last month, drew to a close with what is being described as an amicable, out- of- court settlement among the three parties to the case.
Almost a month ago, former Penguin Canada employee Lisa Rundle had accused Davidar of sexual harassment and alleged wrongful, " retaliatory" dismissal from the company. She sought damages to the tune of $ 422,910 from Penguin and $ 100,000 from Davidar ( the amount works out to Rs 2.4 crore at the current exchange rates).
Davidar, who was regarded as the most successful Indian in international publishing after Alfred A. Knof editor- in- chief Sonny Mehta, initially claimed his relationship with Rundle was " professional", but recanted later saying the two had a " consensual, flirtatious relationship". His Toronto- based lawyer, while announcing the settlement on Wednesday, did not make its terms public.
According to Penguin Canada spokesperson Yvonne Hunter, " Everything has been settled." She also added the company would announce the new president on Wednesday night.
Davidar's departure from Penguin was announced in June -- it was then suggested he was leaving voluntarily to pursue his own literary ambition. After the lawsuit was made public, the company admitted it had fired Davidar as a result of the incidents alleged in it.
The legal representatives of both Davidar and Rundle have issued carefully worded statements to the media. Toronto- based law firm Fasken Martineau's Peter Downard, who represents Davidar, declared in a three- sentence statement, " We can now advise that all allegations have been addressed to the satisfaction of all parties. None of the parties will be commenting further to the media." Rundle's accusations were later corroborated by another former Penguin Canada employee, Samantha Francis, who levelled the same charges against Davidar.
Francis only made in- house complaints against Davidar and chose not to pursue the matter in court.
Davidar may have found extensive support in certain sections of the publishing community back home, but novelist and screenwriter Ashok Banker doesn't spare him in a scathing blog post titled The Beatification of David Davidar: Or how media silence (& some cleverly placed quotes) speak louder than the truth on AshokBanker. com.
" So much for all the Davidar apologists who defended him in the face of his predatory sexual behavior and insisted that ' the truth' would come out in court," writes Banker, who's been spilling the beans on the publishing whiz at regular intervals. " Apparently, the truth has been paid off and silenced. One thing is clear though: No innocent person settles out of court. An innocent man would want his day in court to clear his name. That says it all." Literary critic and blogger Nilanjana S. Roy, however, sprang to Davidar's defence. When asked where the settlement leaves Davidar's claim that " the truth" would eventually prevail, she said: " Settlements of this nature are the most common outcome in such cases, especially where it's a ' he said, she said' situation."
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