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William Shatner Sued for Alleged Harassment

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on September 04, 2012 6:03 PM

Actor and Priceline negotiator extraordinaire William Shatner is being sued for allegedly going where no "Star Trek" captain has gone before: harassing and retaliating against two hired hands at his California home.

OK, so workplace harassment and retaliation claims aren't all that uncommon. But more facts will be needed to determine whether this lawsuit will succeed, or whether a court will dismiss it at warp speed.

Here's what we know, according to the few facts uncovered by gossip website TMZ:

A man named Oscar Alfaro claims he and his wife Delmy worked at William Shatner's home for 20 years. Somehow, Oscar was allegedly injured on the job -- an incident that, if true, could itself lead to liability for the 81-year-old celebrity.

That may be why the actor tried to get the injured worker to sign some sort of release form, the William Shatner lawsuit alleges. Oscar refused.

That refusal allegedly led Shatner to start harassing the Alfaros, according to TMZ. The harassment allegedly got so bad, the Alfaros felt they were forced to quit.

In workplace retaliation lawsuits like this, courts generally look to the alleged acts of retaliation to determine if a suit has merit. Retaliation can include firing, a demotion, a negative evaluation, reduced pay, or other forms of discipline.

In the Alfaros' case, they quit on their own, so there was no retaliatory firing. But there may have been some other type of harassment as retaliation -- something Shatner's character Capt. James Kirk experienced first-hand at the hands of vengeful aliens in such films as, say, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." Or pretty much any "Star Trek" movie, actually.

The William Shatner lawsuit alleges "humiliation, embarrassment, and mental anguish in addition to the loss of earnings," TMZ reports. The Priceline negotiator may now be looking for a legal negotiator to help resolve the dispute.

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