Mark Mausert has been practicing law for 40 years. You may recognize his name from the 2017 sexual harassment and hostile work environment lawsuit against the City of Reno, over behavior by then-city manager Andrew Clinger. The plaintiff settled the case for $300,000, according to the Reno-Gazette Journal.
But that wasn’t Mausert’s first foray into sexual harassment law. In 1991, Title 7 was amended to include that plaintiffs could claim emotional damage and receive monetary value.
“On November 21, 1991, it exploded,” Mausert said. “So I kind of got in at the ground floor. I’ve probably done 500-600 sexual and racial harassment cases since 1990.”
Mausert grew up in upstate New York. He moved to Fallon after finishing law school to clerk for Judges Stanley Smart and Mario Recanzone, and then to Reno to work for the Honorable Edward C. Reed. He worked as an appellate public defender in the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office for two years and then spent a year in the Federated States of Micronesia, working as a public defender. After that, he started his own law practice in Reno.
Most of his cases involve waitresses harassed by a boss or co-worker, or warehouse employees subjected to degrading work environments. His first case involved a waitress at a local casino who was being sexually harassed by her employer.
“And one day her mom sat her down at the kitchen table and said ‘what the … is going on with you?’” Mausert said. “And the story came out.”
Some of Mausert’s current work focuses on cases where graphic and sexually violent music was played in the workplace, affecting employees and creating hostile work environments.
“This stuff is so bad,” Mausert said, sharing lyrics that won’t be repeated in this article.
It’s not easy work, Mausert says. He shared that many times he has to focus on the case and not what his clients feel, or he’d be overwhelmed every day. “As a lawyer, you only have so much time and emotional energy. So I kind of have to build a wall there.”
It’s still worth it, he says. “People read about it. They realize they’re not helpless. They don’t have to put up with it.’
“It’s good to help people. I know my craft and I’m honest. I have to be honest.”