Posted On: August 31, 2009

UPS Sued For Violating The Americans WIth Disabilities Act

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a class action lawsuit against the United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS"), the world’s largest package delivery company, alleging it violated federal law by rejecting an extension of medical leave as a reasonable accommodation for its employees with disabilities.

According to the allegations UPS violated the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") when Trudi Momsen, an administrative assistant at UPS, took a 12-month leave of absence from work when she began experiencing symptoms of what was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. She returned to work for a few weeks, but soon thereafter needed additional time off after experiencing what she believed to be negative side effects of her medication. Although Momsen could have returned to work after an additional two-week leave of absence, UPS fired her for exceeding its 12-month leave policy.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with UPS. The litigation, captioned EEOC v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (Civil Action No. 09-C-5291) and assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Momsen and a class of disabled employees whom UPS similarly refused to accommodate, as well as an order barring future discrimination and other relief.

“This case should send a wake up call to Corporate America that violating the Americans With Disabilities Act will result in vigorous enforcement by the EEOC,” said Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The ADA has been the law of the land for nearly two decades now, and employers simply have no excuse for failing to abide by its provisions.”
Posted On: August 28, 2009

Waterford Police Department Sued Again For Sexual Harassment

The Waterford Township Police Department was sued again for sexual harassment. Arlene Hampton filed the lawsuit containing two claims of sexual harassment alleging she was sexually harassed by male police department employees and subsequently suffered retaliation for complaining about it. The lawsuit comes eight months after the township paid a $325,000 settlement to police department clerk Penny Dye to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit.

Lt. Jim Lalone was named as the defendant in both Hampton's and Dye's lawsuits. Hampton alleges Lalone repeatedly commented on her body, legs, and mode of dress, and on occasion told her she dressed like a whore. Lalone allegedly told another male officer he planned to have sexual relations with Hampton. Despite Hampton's appeals to her supervisor and the township's attorney to investigate alleged sexual harassment targeting not only her but female co-workers, the harassment allegedly continued.

According to the lawsuit she was repeatedly sexually harassed by Lalone, who referred to women within the department as "tits" rather than calling them individually by name, according to the lawsuit. He allegedly referred to the department's female employees collectively as the "bra brigade," or the "bra corps."


Continue reading " Waterford Police Department Sued Again For Sexual Harassment " »

Posted On: August 27, 2009

William Lott Files Lawsuit In Chicago Against Kenny Construction For Sexual Harassment

An Information Technology analyst for Kenny Construction filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against his female boss in cook county. A copy of the lawsuit is here:Lott Complaint
Lott who is also African-American alleges his white female boss discriminated against him because of his race, also known as racial discrimination. According to the complaint, the female boss, Laura Manaugh was the IT Manager and said the following to Lott: "I love you", Managers and employees end up sleeping together because of the vibe of the working relationship", "You remind me of my husband, he is so good in bed", and "Woman are in control because we have the pussy."

According to the complaint Lott complained about the sexual harassment to human resources and nothing was done to stop the behavior. In fact according to Lott, the workplace became a hostile working environment after he reported the offensive behavior. Lott is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Posted On: August 25, 2009

Nassau County Ordered to Pay $604,589 after Losing Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Nassau County was ordered to pay $604,589 to Patricia Luca in salary differential to a correction officer barred from becoming a police officer in retaliation for a previous sexual harassment lawsuit she filed. This amount was affirmed by the appellate court however the appellate court did give the county the chance to reargue in the U.S. District Court whether nearly $200,000 in attorney fees and costs should be awarded to the lawyer who represented Patricia Luca of East Meadow in the case.

Luca, 40, had been a correction officer more than four years when she filed her sexual harassment lawsuit in 2000 alleging that she was sexually harassed at the Nassau County Jail in East Meadow as the result of a in-house seminar on cultural diversity. She said a fictitious "scenario" that was distributed and used her name had embarrassed and humiliated her and made her the butt of lewd comments from many of her colleagues, destroying her self-esteem and career. She took a settlement offer in mid-2003.

In 1994 Luca placed 20th among hundreds of applicants on the police civil service exam given but in 2003 she was told that she was a "non-select" candidate on the certified Civil Service List and did not place in the incoming Nassau County Police Academy that began in early 2004. She filed the current lawsuit, saying that because of the previous one she was harassed by police officers investigating her background. She added that because she was a "non-select" on the Civil Service List, she was also rejected by several village police departments.

"The county was extremely disappointed in the opinion. We are considering our options," said Nassau County Attorney Lorna Goodman.


Continue reading " Nassau County Ordered to Pay $604,589 after Losing Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit " »

Posted On: August 24, 2009

Former City Administrator Who Was Seeking $11.9 Million Settles for $15,000 in Sexual Harassment Case

Former Zimmer-man city administrator, Gregory LaFond, and Sherburne County settled a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit for $15,000. However, although LaFond is getting $15,000 from the county, in a cross-claim, LaFond must pay Deputy Michele Vlasak $12,000 to settle her claim against him. This is a long way from the $11.9 million LaFond was seeking.
In September 2007 LaFond filed suit against the county, former Sheriff Bruce Anderson, County Attorney Kathleen Heaney and Deputy Michele Vlasak, as well as other unnamed individuals.

In his lawsuit, LaFond accused the county of conspiring against him due to his work with the city of Zimmerman in negotiating the law enforcement contract between the city and county, as well as other duties with the sheriff’s department. LaFond claimed Anderson tarnished his reputation when he questioned the rising costs of the sheriff’s department in Zimmerman. LaFond also claimed Vlasak, whose duties were assigned to Zimmerman, conspired to assist in this retaliation by bringing a sexual harassment allegation against LaFond.

According to the Star News, Vlasak filed suit against LaFond, asserting a counterclaim that he had defamed her in claiming the harassment allegations were baseless and part of a conspiracy. In the end, the claims against all of the individual defendants were dismissed as part of the settlement. However, Anderson said, based on the estimates of another $60,000 to $100,000 it would have taken in defending the case, and the disruption of services to the public, just settling the case seemed appropriate.

“In our opinion resolving a complaint asking for a total of $11.9 million dollars in damages for a payment of $15,000 to Mr. LaFond, while at the same time Mr. LaFond has a payment made on his behalf of $12,000 to Deputy Vlasak, was not only reasonable, but in the interest of the public,” Anderson said.
Posted On: August 23, 2009

Lowe's Pays $1.72 Million To Settle Retaliation and Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Lowe's settled a retaliation and sexual harassment discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for $1.72 million and significant remedial relief on behalf of three employees in their twenties who were subjected to a pervasive sexually hostile work environment and retaliated against for complaining about it. The former employees, two young men and one woman, were subjected to widespread and repeated sexual harassment by male and female managers and coworkers at a Lowe’s store in Longview, Wash., according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The hostile work environment, which endured for more than six months, included physical and verbal abuse which culminated in one instance of sexual assault.

Among the many allegations in the lawsuit a female employee, age 21 at the time, was sexually assaulted by the 44-year-old male store manager in his office. Prior to the alleged assault, the EEOC said she was implicitly propositioned for sex by the manager related to a recent promotion she received. EEOC asserted that Lowe’s not only failed to take prompt remedial action to stop the sexual harassment, but also fired the three victims in the case. Retaliation occurs when an employee is fired for refusing or reporting sexual harassment.

“Corporate America should be on notice that sexual harassment and retaliation will not be tolerated by the EEOC,” said Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “In this case, severe sex-based harassment of young workers was permitted to run rampant at one of the nation’s largest retailers. It is shocking that Lowe’s store managers actively engaged in, and even encouraged, such blatant unlawful conduct and then retaliated against the victims for objecting to it.”

Continue reading " Lowe's Pays $1.72 Million To Settle Retaliation and Sexual Harassment Lawsuit " »

Posted On: August 22, 2009

Hillsborough County Pays Alyssa Ogden $75,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

A jury took less than three hours today to decide that Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White made unwanted sexual advances toward his former 24-year-old aide Alyssa Ogden, then fired her because she rejected those advances. Ogden was awarded $15,000 for past and future medical bills and $60,000 for pain and anguish. The county spent more than $100,000 to defend the sexual harassment lawsuit.

The verdict wound up a five-day trial which centered largely on a 2007 trip to Atlanta. During that trip Ogden alleges that White came to her hotel room at 2 a.m. and tried to have sex with her. Ogden alleged that White planned the trip to try and have sex with her. When Ogden refused to have sex she was subjected to retaliation by being terminated. White's former friend and political supporter, C. Blythe Andrews Jr., denied the commissioner's story that he arranged Ogden's trip to Atlanta at Andrews' request. Ogden says White asked her on the Atlanta trip, then tried to have sex with her there. The commissioner's uncle, Andre Moses White, first supported White's claim that he stayed at his uncle's house the night Ogden said the commissioner tried to sleep with her in an Atlanta hotel room. But the uncle later recanted the statement, saying his mind had been muddled by medications.

County Commissioner Rose Ferlita called the verdict "embarrassing" for taxpayers struggling with their own economic problems who must now shoulder legal fees.
Posted On: August 21, 2009

Wilcox Farm Pays $260,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Wilcox Farms, which operates dairy and egg production facilities in Oregon and Washington, will pay $260,000 and provide remedial relief to settle a federal sexual harassment and retaliation suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit alleged that a male supervisor repeatedly grabbed, sought to forcibly undress and propositioned Wilcox Farms employee Diana Dominguez at its Aurora, Ore., facility. According to the federal agency’s investigation, the sexual harassment continued over many months despite Dominguez’s complaints to management, to the point where she began to fear for her physical safety. The EEOC found that Wilcox retaliated against Dominguez for reporting the harassment by isolating her from co-workers, forcing her to continue to work with the harasser and pressuring her to resign. Dominguez ultimately was forced to quit out of fear for her safety-which meets the legal definition of retaliation.

Under the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, Wilcox Farms denied any wrongdoing but will pay Dominguez $260,000. The company also agreed to adopt and to distribute to all employees a sexual harassment policy written in both English and Spanish; make its complaint procedures more convenient for employees to report harassment and retaliation; conduct sexual harassment training in English and Spanish for all managers, supervisors and employees; and to provide various reports to the EEOC over a three-year period.

EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, "This case involved a supervisor’s serious abuse of power over a female employee. Employers must take every report of harassment seriously. They shouldn’t dismiss such behavior as ‘the cost of doing business’ or ignore problems in hopes that they will go away. The law requires them to quickly and effectively respond to such complaints. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal – no one should be required to work in a hostile environment.”


Continue reading " Wilcox Farm Pays $260,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit " »

Posted On: August 20, 2009

PetSmart Throws Bone To EEOC and Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $125,000

PetSmart, Inc., the nation’s leading retailer of services and products for pets, agreed to pay $125,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to resolve a federal sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit female employees were subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment by a store manager. The store manager’s sexually offensive conduct and comments included repeatedly grabbing his genitals while talking to female employees and making explicit sexual comments and sexual innuendoes.

PetSmart not only failed to take prompt and effective action to stop the sexual harassment but engaged in unlawful retaliation against a female manager after she complained. The store manager allegedly yelled at the woman, belittled her in front of subordinates, followed her around the store and disciplined her despite her good job performance. As a result of the unrelenting harassment and unwarranted retaliation, the EEOC said, she was forced to quit her job. In additional to the cash settlement, PetSmart agreed to mandatory EEO training of all managers, supervisors and employees about employee rights and employer obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“We filed this lawsuit because all employees have the right to complain about sexual harassment without suffering unlawful reprisals,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “We are pleased that the parties were able to resolve this matter and that PetSmart agreed to a variety of corrective measures designed to prevent future problems in the workplace.”


Continue reading " PetSmart Throws Bone To EEOC and Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $125,000 " »

Posted On: August 19, 2009

St. Louis Rams Get Tackled By EEOC And Pay $134,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

The St. Louis Rams settled an Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") involving disability discrimination for $134,000 and important remedial relief on behalf of Ron DuBuque, a long-term employee with a seizure disorder. DuBuque, who had been an assistant trainer with the team for 11 years before he was terminated, had epilepsy during his entire employment. DuBuque and the EEOC alleged that he had successfully performed his job until the Rams' management, in June 2006, claimed he was a medical liability and posed a threat to his own safety and that of coworkers. DuBuque was diagnosed with trauma-induced epilepsy in 1984, more than a decade before working for the Rams.

Under the terms of the consent decree the Rams will pay a total of $134,000 to settle the case – including emotional distress damages of $100,000 and a $34,000 contract in which DuBuque will be engaged as a Rehabilitation Specialist for two years. The decree also requires the team to provide training on the ADA to managers and supervisors of the Rams. These types of discrimination cases violate the civil rights act of 1964.

“As this case and many others show, disability does not mean inability,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “All employers should make workplace decisions based on merit and qualifications to do the job, rather than on myths, fears, or stereotypes associated with a person’s disability.”


Posted On: August 17, 2009

Brand Energy Solutions Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $175,000

Brand Energy Solutions, L.L.C. which operates Texas refineries will pay $175,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ('EEOC"). The EEOC said that an operations manager employed by Brand at a Corpus Christi refinery sexually harassed a female timekeeper whom he supervised. The sexual harassment included subjecting her to repeated unwelcome physical contact, sexual advances and comments; placing lurid images on her work computer; and threatening and intimidating behavior such as throwing objects at her and locking her in a trailer.

According to the suit, the woman was forced to quit her job when Brand Scaffold failed to take prompt and appropriate remedial action to address the harassment, as the law requires. Further, the EEOC charged, Brand retaliated against the woman for complaining about the abuse. After she complained to management she was removed from her work site, placed directly in the harasser's office and was shunned by the other employees. She was told by co-workers and at least one Brand manager that whistleblowers never keep their jobs. This is a form of retaliation. Once an employee complains of discrimination and employer may not take disciplinary action against the employee.

“The law requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent such sexual harassment,” said David Rivela, senior trial attorney of the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “We will continue to actively prosecute cases where employees are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. We are glad that Brand was willing to resolve this matter.”

Continue reading " Brand Energy Solutions Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $175,000 " »

Posted On: August 16, 2009

R-Anell Housing Group Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $200,000

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit agains R-Anell Housing alleging that R-Anell Housing refused to hire Amy Hall and a class of similarly situated female applicants because of their gender. According to the complaint, R-Anell engaged in gender discrimination at its' manufacturing facility beginning as early as 2004, and at a manufacturing facility previously operated in Denver, N.C., beginning as early as 2003. The EEOC and R-Anell settled this lawsuit for $200,000 plus other relief.

The EEOC further charged that R-Anell maintains a sex-segregated workforce that has the effect of denying female employees equal employment opportunities. According to the EEOC court-filed complaint, R-Anell also failed to preserve applications and personnel records as required by law. Gender discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Excluding all women – half the population and half the talent pool – from the workplace is a counter-intuitive business strategy and illegal,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This settlement shows the EEOC will insist on meaningful relief for victims of such blatant sex discrimination.”

Continue reading " R-Anell Housing Group Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $200,000 " »

Posted On: August 15, 2009

Material Resources Pays $57,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") announced it settled a racial discrimination lawsuit against Material Resources LLC for $50,000 in compensatory damages, payment of $7,500 to an ex-employee and the company will offer anti-discrimination training.

The lawsuit alleged the company doing business as Gateway Co-Packing Co. didn't give a black employee the pay raise and health insurance coverage his white co-workers got. The EEOC says the company then fired the employee after he filed a complaint. This is commonly referred to as retaliation. In Illinois if an employee complains of discriminatory conduct the company cannot then discipline or termination the employee as a result of the employee bringing the discriminatory conduct to the attention of the company.

Posted On: August 13, 2009

EEOC Files Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against Propak Logistics alleging reverse discrimination. According to the lawsuit, from October 1, 2002, through June 30, 2004, based Propak Logistics, Inc. engaged in unlawful employment practices by refusing to hire an entire class of people for non-management positions at its Shelby, N.C., facility because of their non-Hispanic national origin. The complaint said that the company hired predominantly Latinos to the exclusion of equally or more qualified non-Latinos--this is also known as reverse discrimination.

This type of discrimination is national origin discrimination and it is usually filed against companies for not hiring minorities but the door swings both way. A company cannot discriminate against any group based on race or national origin. If a company does discrimination based on national origin, the employee is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Discrimination based on national origin is simply illegal, regardless of the background of the victims or the beneficiaries of that misconduct,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.
“This case represents the unfortunate reality that some employers are willing to discriminate against one racial or cultural group in favor of another,” said Lynette Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office.

Continue reading " EEOC Files Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit " »

Posted On: August 12, 2009

What Is Sexual Harassment in Illinois?

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act 775 ILCS 5/2-102(D)), sexual harassment in Illinois is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature is sexual harassment when:
1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for an employment decision affecting such individual; or
3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

There are two basic types of sexual harassment: Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo.

A hostile work environment is created when unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other type of conduct of a sexual nature that is intimidating, offensive or hostile substantially interferes with a person’s work performance. Examples of hostile environment sexual harassment, include, but are not limited to: unwanted deliberate or repeated sexual behavior; sexually suggestive objects, signs, or pictures; unwelcome sexual gestures, touching, or pinching; sexual innuendos or stories; unwelcome hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking; unwelcome sexual teasing, telephone calls, or materials of a sexual nature.

Quid pro quo means “something for something”. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when submission to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature is made, explicitly or implicitly, a condition of employment or promotion. Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: suggesting to an individual that it is possible to be hired, promoted, or be advanced in the job if that person allows sexual favors; asking a person to submit to unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors as a condition of hiring, promotion, or advancement in the job; denying hire, promotion, or advancement in the job because the person has refused dates, sexual advances, or requests for sexual favors.

Posted On: August 11, 2009

Mason City Iowa Settles Gender and Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The Mason City Council reached a settlement on an age discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit but did not disclose how much it will cost the taxpayers. Pat Gansen, 57, a city animal-control officer for eleven years and city employee for seventeen years alleges she was denied a job promotion because of age and gender discrimination. Gansen filed her lawsuit in June 2008, claiming the city permitted gender and age discrimination and harassment, and retaliated against her complaints by failing to promote her.

Gansen also alleged discrimination based on pay and benefits, and that she was denied her equal protection under the law by denying her equal pay-a violation of the civil rights act of 1964. Defendants in the lawsuit were the city, chief building official Chuck McGreevey, city engineer Mark Rahm and human resources director Tom Meyer, who is also the city attorney.

Posted On: August 10, 2009

EEOC Files National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit Against Sahara Casino

The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas violated federal law by creating a hostile work environment for Ezzat Elias an Egyptian kitchen employee through a daily barrage of derogatory comments due to his national origin and retaliating against him when he reported it according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit Sahara's supervisors and coworkers continuously belittled and harassed Elias, whose job was delivering food from the kitchen to the hotel buffet and maintaining the buffet, because of his Egyptian heritage.

The harassment included offensive comments, slurs, and graffiti, such as being called “Bin Laden,” “Taliban,” and “f ____ Egyptian” and being told to “go back to Egypt.” Elias was also targeted with graffiti, which he was then required to wash off. Despite Elias’s repeated complaints of such harassment, the defendants failed to take effective measures to stop it. Instead, supervisors retaliated against him, which included disciplinary write-ups and suspension. Retaliation occurs when an employee complains about being discriminated against and supervisors do nothing about it and in fact either encourage the discriminatory behavior or punish the employee for reporting the discriminatory conduct.

National origin discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for Elias, as well as injunctive relief to prevent such discrimination in the future.

"There is no excuse for such blatant and abusive behavior targeting workers on the basis of their national origin,” said EEOC Las Vegas Local Director Lucy Orta. “Employers must train their managers and frontline supervisors to prevent discrimination and to take prompt and effective action against harassment when it occurs."
Posted On: August 9, 2009

EEOC and Mediation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR"), which is an alternative to litigation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") offers mediation free to people who file complaints with the agency. There are good reason to select mediation and also reasons against. On the EEOC's website the following is listed as reasons to select mediation:
-It's free
- It's fair and neutral as the parties have an equal say in the process and decide settlement terms, not the mediator. There is no determination of guilt or innocence in the process.
-it saves time and money as mediation usually occurs early in the charge process, and many mediations are completed in one meeting. Legal or other representation is optional but not required.
-It's confidential as the EEOC requires that all parties sign a confidentiality agreement. Information disclosed during mediation will not be revealed to anyone, including other EEOC investigative or legal staff.

There are a few reason not to select mediation however.
First, by avoiding litigation, the company is the one really saving money and thus the savings is given to them. The EEOC will investigate your charge for free and the company has to pay an attorney to defend the charge of discrimination.

Second, many facts don't come out in mediation because there has not been an opportunity to fully discover evidence the other side may have. Therefore, a complainant may be settling a claim without knowing all the facts and may have a much better case in reality than they realize.

Lastly, during mediation the complainant lays out his case and the employer has an opportunity to hear the entire case and therefore if the parties can't come to an agreement, the employer can draft their defense based on hearing the entire case.

Continue reading " EEOC and Mediation " »

Posted On: August 8, 2009

Apartment Owner Ordered to Pay $244,000 in Sexual Harassment Case

Arthur Burton the owner of a Kettering apartment complex in Ohio was ordered to pay a total of $244,000 to a young woman who was an employee and tenant. According to the sexual harassment lawsuit, Burton asked the young woman about her sex life, about when she last had it, and most persistently, whether she would have sex with him. She always said no. According to the lawsuit, this all started when the woman was 20 and moved into the apartment. The apartment door had been kicked in, and Burton came by to fix it. During the week she lived there, he never finished the job. Instead, he asked her questions about herself. Soon, he was propositioning her for sex.

According to the lawsuit the woman came to his apartment to work on his computer, and Burton had pornography playing on the television. She reported this harassment to the police and they said this was a he said, she said and she needed evidence. She hid a digital recorder in her bra and recorded their future conversations. The transcript of her conversations with Burton, made on April 13, 2007, runs nearly 150 pages. It contains much mundane conversation about Burton’s business, but the topic of sex keeps returning. Burton tells her she turns him on. He asks her if she is attracted to him. He repeatedly propositions her. Some of his conversations could be seen as vailed threats of retaliation.

"You’re probably a sexual dynamo, aren’t you?” he asked. “I ain’t going to answer that question,” she replied, according to a transcript of a conversation she secretly taped.

The woman mentions several times that she was offended that he offered to pay her for sex. Burton explains repeatedly that he didn’t want her to lose money for sex with him during working hours. In Illinois it is illegal to tape a conversation without the consent of both parties or without a court order as Illinois is one of twelve states that require all party consent.

Continue reading " Apartment Owner Ordered to Pay $244,000 in Sexual Harassment Case " »

Posted On: August 7, 2009

Golden Corral Pays $85,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Calvin Young was awarded $85,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit against his former employer, the Golden Corral restaurant on U.S. 19. According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Young worked there for about a month in 2006 and claimed that two gay male co-workers pestered him on a near-daily basis with lewd remarks and pressed up against his body, forcing him into a "sandwich." He complained to two managers and they did nothing about it. Instead the company fired Young for what it called job performance problems, but Young claims it was in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment.

Young and three other restaurant employees, Kenneth Vaughn, Dawn Haschalk and Pamela Gause, filed lawsuits against Sunny Corral, the Dallas-based franchise owner. Young claimed that he was sexually harassed and fired in retaliation for complaining about it. The jury found in favor of Young on all three counts, and awarded him $20,000 in back pay, $5,000 for pain and suffering, $60,000 in punitive damages. The other cases are pending.

In many sexual harassment cases, once an employee complains of harassment, the company engages in retaliation by writing up the employee for any perceived infraction and uses that as a basis to terminate the employee.

"I'm so glad that justice prevailed," Young said in an interview Monday. "It's so easy to defend a case instead of prove it."
Posted On: August 6, 2009

HomeTown Buffet Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $710,000

Hometown Buffer settled a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision ("EEOC") for $710,000. The EEOC alleged Hometown Buffet failed to prevent and tolerated a pattern of ongoing sexual harassment in which male managers, supervisors, and co-workers subjected female employees to a sexually hostile workplace, including groping, hugging, kissing, sexual advances, and stalking employees outside the workplace. One female victim was allegedly raped by a male co-worker. The EEOC further alleged that due to the female employees’ young age and/or lack of English proficiency, a breakdown in the company’s complaint process failed to adequately remedy the sexual harassment.

In addition to a monetary settlement of $710,000, the two-year consent decree resolving the matter will also ensure the implementation of measures to prevent and remedy sexual harassment at the company’s El Cajon location. These measures include annual training for employees, managers, and supervisors regarding sexual harassment and retaliation; a formal complaint procedure with close tracking of any future complaints; and, providing annual reports to the EEOC regarding future complaints and remedial action.

"Sexual assaults are increasingly becoming more commonplace in sexual harassment cases,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park of the agency’s Los Angeles District Office. “During this economic downturn, it is more important than ever for employers to actively ensure a workplace free of hostility. What may appear to be a short term gain by cutting out training on EEO laws, may result in long term cost to a company if claims of discrimination are not actively prevented or corrected.”
Posted On: August 4, 2009

AT&T Pays $1.3 Million In Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

A jury of nine women and three men awarded the two former AT & T employees, Jose Gonzalez and Glenn Owen (brothers-in-law), $296,000 in back pay and $460,000 in compensatory damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act based on discrimination. During the four-day trial, the jury heard evidence that both men had submitted written requests to their manager in January 2005 for one day of leave to attend a religious observance that was scheduled for Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17, 2005. Both men testified that they had sincerely held religious beliefs that required them to attend the Jehovah’s Witness convention each year. Both men had attended the convention every year throughout their employment with AT&T. Gonzalez worked at the company for more than eight years and Owen was employed there for nearly six years.

The case was tried in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jonesboro Division (Case No. 3:06-cv-00176), before Judge Leon Holmes. AT&T appealed the jury verdict to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Eighth Circuit sided with the EEOC and upheld the jury verdict. The amount awarded by the jury at trial grew to $1,307,597 with the inclusion of interest and front pay. Judge Holmes granted the EEOC’s request for an injunction prohibiting AT&T from engaging in any employment practice which discriminates on the basis of religion.

“These two employees never should have had to choose between their jobs and their sincerely held religious beliefs,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “With increased religious diversity in the workplace, employers need to be extra vigilant in guarding against discrimination based on religion.”

Continue reading " AT&T Pays $1.3 Million In Religious Discrimination Lawsuit " »

Posted On: August 3, 2009

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd Pays $1.7 Million to Settle Discrimination Cases With The EEOC

L&T Group of Companies, Ltd., the largest employer and conglomerate of garment manufacturers in Saipan, will pay $1.7 million and to provide far reaching and significant injunctive relief to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuits alleged the company violated federal law regarding retaliation and discrimination based on national origin, pregnancy and age, all in violation of federal law. The EEOC alleged that the employer retaliated against 14 Filipino and Bangladeshi workers when it terminated them because they filed charges of discrimination with the EEOC.

The allegations in the case also included that Bangladeshi security guards were being treated differently than Nepalese with respect to assignment of overtime hours, work location, and housing. Further, the EEOC said the defendants discriminated on the basis of national origin by providing different amounts of benefits to Nepalese, Chinese, Filipino and Bangladeshi employees, and failed to conduct any investigation regarding the claimants’ allegations. Within two or three months after the charge was filed with the EEOC, the defendants unlawfully retaliated against the workers by failing to renew their contracts.

“This major settlement shows that the EEOC will vigorously protect the rights of all workers, within every reach of our jurisdiction, to be free of discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The resolutions of these egregious cases bring a measure of justice to the many workers who were retaliated against and otherwise victimized by discriminatory employment practices because of their national origin, age, or pregnancy.”

Continue reading " L&T Group of Companies, Ltd Pays $1.7 Million to Settle Discrimination Cases With The EEOC " »

Posted On: August 2, 2009

AVI Foodsystems Pays $90,000 to Settle ADA Lawsuit With EEOC

Food service giant AVI Foodsystems, Inc. ("AVI") pays $90,000 and offers jobs to discrimination victims to settle a class disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit alleged AVI violated federal law by failing to allow employees with disabilities to return to work without a full-duty, no-restriction doctor’s release.

The EEOC asserted that this policy violated the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The lawsuit alleged disabled employees who had been on leave and are able to return to work with some physical restrictions, but are still able to perform their jobs, should be allowed to do so. This policy adversely affected more than 80 AVI employees in several states, including Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Laurie A. Young, regional attorney of the EEOC’s district office in Indianapolis said “Employers should be aware that the most recent amendments to the ADA became effective on January 1 of this year, and those amendments made substantial changes to the ADA as interpreted by the courts.”

Continue reading " AVI Foodsystems Pays $90,000 to Settle ADA Lawsuit With EEOC " »

Posted On: August 1, 2009

Anti-Male Remarks Lead to Title VII Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Carl Sassaman was accused by a female co-worker of sexual harassment. Sassaman's boss conducted a very limited investigation which turned into a he-said,she-said as both partys claimed the other was lying. Sassaman's boss took not further investigation and assumed Sassaman had sexually harassed the co-worker and told him to either resign or he would be fired. Sassaman instead filed a discrimination lawsuit, Sassaman v. Gamache, claiming his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were violated.

The original lawsuit was dismissed by the Court however, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned that dismissal and remanded the case for further trial. The 2nd Circuit said that jurors could reasonably draw an inference of discriminatory intent if they accepted Sassaman's combined allegations that his boss suggested men are apt to sexually harass their co-workers and that the employer failed to properly investigate the alleged harassment.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), men generated 15.9% of sexual harassment complaints filed in 2008. The majority of those complaints were men complaining about sexual harassment by other men.