Posted On: October 29, 2009

Jewerly Store Pays $405,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

A sexual harassment and retaliation case filed by a former security officer at a jewerly store was settled for $405,000. The security guard claimed he was sexually harassed and terminated after reporting the harassment to management in violation of federal employment law. The security guard alleged that during his employment as a security officer he was subjected to various acts of sexual harassment, including unwanted sexual attention and sexual propositions from a female senior manager, numerous instances of inappropriate and unwanted physical contact, and inappropriate and offensive comments.

According to the lawsuit the security guard reported the sexual harassment to senior management in accordance with company policy and, after doing so, he was terminated by the harasser as an act of retaliation. After filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") the case was resolved through a negotiated settlement for $405,000.

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Posted On: October 28, 2009

Hobby Lobby Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $35,000

According to court papers filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), Hobby Lobby prohibited Julie Tufts, an employee in its Rochester, Minn.-based store, to use her wheelchair when performing her job and failed to accommodate her inability to climb ladders. This is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") and as a result, Hobby Lobby agreed to pay Tufts $35,000 plus other relief to settle her discrimination claim. The ADA portion of her claim was that Tufts was unable to continue to work at Hobby Lobby due to the alleged discrimination and was discharged because she could not come back to work without use of the wheelchair.

Along with paying $35,000 Hobby Lobby signed an injunction against discrimination and retaliation. Retaliation takes place when an employee is singled out because of filing a claim of discrimination or asking for a reasonable accomodation. In this case asking for a reasonable accomodation because of Tufts requirement to be in a wheel chair. As part of the settlement Hobby Lobby must revise its internal policies to clarify that persons with temporary impairments may be considered as persons with disabilities. Hobby Lobby must also conduct employee training on ADA issues and update its employee handbooks.

“This case might never have arisen if Hobby Lobby had clear policies to guide its management and human resources employees in determining whether to provide reasonable accommodations to employees whose impairments are long-lasting but not necessarily permanent,” said EEOC Regional Attorney John Hendrickson of the agency’s Chicago District.

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Posted On: October 27, 2009

Prison Pays $1.3 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Case

Dominion Correctional Services, LLC and Corrections Corporation of America, both doing business as Crowley County Correctional Facility, paid $1.3 million and other significant remedial relief to settle a large sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of 21 female former workers. The workers were allegedly subjected to a gender based hostile work environment and retaliation at an all-male, privately run medium security prison in Olney Springs, Colo.

According to the lawsuit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleged female employees at the prison were subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment that included male managers forcing them to perform sex acts in order to keep their jobs. This adds new meaning to the idea of working hard to get ahead. According to the lawsuit a female officer made a complaint of sexual harassment against a male coworker, and was then placed in an isolated location, where she was raped by the man about whom she had complained.

Another shocking allegation is that the Chief of Security forced a female corrections officer to have intercourse with him, which she did in order to keep her job. Other male managers similarly expected their female subordinates to provide sexual favors. A female corrections officer was coerced first into performing oral sex, and later intercourse, with a male captain, for fear of losing her job. Another female officer testified that a male lieutenant regularly made comments to her about how she looked and commented that he could do a lot better than her husband. He then allegedly told her that if she wanted to keep her job she needed to sleep with him. She resigned.

"We at the EEOC see an unfortunately high number of sexual harassment cases, but what allegedly happened here was shocking,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “No working woman should ever have to endure harassment and requests for sexual favors by managers in order to earn a paycheck – or suffer retaliation for complaining about the illegal harassment.”

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Posted On: October 25, 2009

Staffing Firms Adecco Sued For Sexual Harassment

Adecco a staffing firm was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")after it failed to take appropriate action when female employees complained about sexual harassment at a client site. According to the lawsuit another employee was compelled to quit because of ongoing sexual harassment. Adecco continued to assign women to the plant despite the sexually hostile work environment, according to the lawsuit.

The EEOC reported that Adecco assigned Veronica Jalpa and other women to Pittsburgh Plastics Manufacturing Inc. in Butler, Pennsylvania, and that a Pittsburgh Plastics supervisor sexually harassed them through sexual comments and touching. The EEOC said Jalpa asked for a different shift to avoid the supervisor but was fired by Adecco.

“Adecco has fully cooperated with the EEOC and we are disappointed that it has decided to take this course of action given the information that was made available to the agency,” Adecco wrote.


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Posted On: October 24, 2009

Napoli's Serving More Than Meatballs--Sued For Sexual Harassment

Napoli's Italian Restaurant, was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claiming minor female workers were sexually harassed while working at the restaurant. According to the lawsuit a female server and other female employees at the restaurant were subjected to sexual harassment in the form of lewd comments, propositions and touching. A specific incident listed occurred in early 2008, when the female server was only 17 years old. According to the EEOC release, male managers also allegedly subjected other female employees to “a campaign” of inappropriate behavior.

The lawsuit claims male managers allegedly detained the server who filed the original complaint in a restaurant office and turned out the lights. The female quit following the alleged incident because she feared for her safety. This is was in commonly referred to as constructive discharge.

“We received the charge of discrimination from a young woman who worked there and who claimed that she and other young female employees were subjected to sexual harassment,” said Baran, who was unable to say how many workers were allegedly harassed or if they were all minors at the time.

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Posted On: October 23, 2009

Standard Register Sued for Gender Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against the Standard Register for gender discrimination of a female employee. According to court papers Penny Zink had male coworkers who repeatedly discriminated against and harassed her because she was female. Zinke was forced to quit her job as a result of the gender discrimination which is also referred to as constructive discharge.

According to the lawsuit the male workers called Zink names and yelled at her. They also failed to give her the needed assistance to work on a two-person machine even though male employees were given that aid. This is common in gender discrimination lawsuits. The males were trying to make it difficult for her to do the job so she would fail.

“Standard Register denies the allegations in the lawsuit,” Dale McMichael, Standard Register director of client relations, said in an e-mail to the Dayton Daily News.

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Posted On: October 22, 2009

VA Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $25,000

Krista Stephenson claimed she was sexually harassed by Veterans Affairs ("VA") center director Craig Howard while she worked for him as staff assistant. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit on her behalf and the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit for $25,000.

In cases like this many times the parties will reach a voluntary settlement rather than risk a lengthy discovery process and the prospect of trial. At trial the amount awarded could be high or there could be no award at all. By reaching a settlement both parties can contain costs and Stephenson is guaranteed money--while also feeling vindicated by making the VA pay.

Dan Ryan, spokesman for the Canandaigua VA, declined to comment other than to issue a statement saying: “VA personnel matters are confidential by regulation.”

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Posted On: October 21, 2009

EEOC Says Retaliation Claims On The Rise

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claims including a retaliation charge rose 23% in the year ended Sept. 30, 2008. The EEOC says more than a third of all claims filed with the agency have claims involving retaliation. Claims that didn't involve retaliation rose 12% during the same period. EEOC officials cite several reasons for the increase in retaliation claims. Due to the tough economy many employees feel slighted at being laid off or fired. Additionally, many companies are firing workers who complain because there are so many workers willing to take the employees job due to the tough job market. This is one instance where the squeaky wheel doesn't get the oil but gets the boot.

Retaliation is easier to prove than discrimination involving sexual harassment, or based on other forms of discrimination especially since a 2006 Supreme Court decision adopted a broader definition of retaliation. Many times a claim filed by the EEOC will have both a discrimination claim and retaliation claim. For example, an employee who is sexually harassed at work will report the harassment and then get fired or demoted. The employee will then file a claim with the EEOC for sexual harassment and retaliation.

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Posted On: October 20, 2009

M&N Equipment Sued For Sexual Harassment

M&N Equipment was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging a woman was retaliated against after making a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker. According to the lawsuit the women was sexual harassed while working at the compnay and complained to management about the harassment. The company not only failed to remedy the situation at work but engaged in retaliation against the women when she came forward.

The lawsuit alleges that during the four months after the woman complained about being sexually harassed the company retaliated by reducing her work hours, taking away her company car, not giving her a promised transfer, and then fired her without explanation. Then once the woman found work at another company, M&N Equipment called that company two days later and falsely maligned her work performance, resulting in her being fired by her new employer.

"It is particularly important for a woman to feel safe from retaliation when she speaks out against sexual harassment in a workplace," said Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC office. "This is precisely the reason our laws prohibit retaliation for sexual harassment complaints."


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Posted On: October 19, 2009

Chicken Restaurant Chain Sued For Sexual Harassment

Chicken restaurant chain Seymour Zaxbys is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassement and retaliation. According to the lawsuit two employees were sexual harassed and then complained about the sexual harassment. The same day that they complained about the sexual harassment they were both fired.

As a matter of law retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits retaliating against employees who complain about alleged unlawful employment practices such as sexual harassment. In cases like this the EEOC will try to settle the case prior to filing a lawsuit. Damages which can be awarded in sexual harassment and retaliation cases include compensatory damages, punitive damages and an injunction against future discrimination. Also the company could be ordered to hire the employees back.

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Posted On: October 18, 2009

Country Inn Sued By EEOC For Sexual Harassment

The Country Inn hotel is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment. The EEOC alleges the hotel’s management condoned the sexual harassment of several female employees and penalized the women when they complained about the hostile work environment. According to the lawsuit Candace Bland and other female servers including those under 18 were subjected to pervasive sexual harassment by two male coworkers.

According to allegations in the lawsuit, one man dropped his pants in front of the female employees and both male employees repeatedly engaged in offensive and unwelcome touching of female employees, including grabbing their breasts, “humping” against the women, slapping their buttocks and kissing them. Both men also made repeated requests for dates and persistent use of offensive and demeaning language towards the women.

Despite complaints by Bland and other women to the owner and other managers, the employer failed to take prompt measures to stop the harassment and after Bland filed a complaint with the EEOC her hours were cut and she was removed from work for a week. Other women who complained about the hostile work environment also had their hours reduced or the terms of their employment altered. In Illinois this type of conduct is called retaliation.

“It is unacceptable for an employer to punish employees who complain about sexual harassment by reducing their work hours and thereby reducing their income. Retaliation like this has a chilling effect on those who choose to exercise their federally protected rights and is blatantly illegal,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.

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Posted On: October 17, 2009

Doctor Sues Hospital and Doctor For Sexual Harassment

A doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center filed a lawsuit against the hospital and her boss Hector Wong claiming gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The doctor accuses Wong of sexually harassing her beginning when she interviewed for a job at the hospital. Additionally the lawsuit alleges gender discrimination against her based on lesser pay than comparable male doctors. She also claims she was not promoted because she rejected Wong's sexual advances which is retaliation.

According to the doctor, she was threatened by Wong who is a martial artist after she rejected his sexual advances. At the same time her promotion was rejected and given to another female doctor who did not reject Wong's sexual advances, according to the lawsuit. The doctor claims the hospital should have known about Wong's sexual harassment and did not stop it.

The doctor claims Wong and the hospital retaliated against her after she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging sexual harassment against Wong and of the hospital.


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Posted On: October 16, 2009

Real Estate Agent/Mayor Sued For Sexual Harassment

Real estate agent Joseph H. Mancini and Mayor of Long Beach Township is being sued for sexual harassment. In the lawsuit Kymberly Oakes alleges she suffered economic losses, emotional pain and suffering and mental anguish after she rejected the sexual advances of her boss. The lawsuit states Mancini made numerous and repeated sexual advances toward Oakes who has been employed since 2006. The complaint states that Oakes began to reject the advances as she continued her employment.

The lawsuit alleges Mancini engaged in retaliation against Oakes after she rejected his advances and that Mancini used his position as her supervisor and mayor to retaliate by, threatening to accuse her of forging checks, refusing to pay Oakes commission for her work as an agent, interfering with her real estate clients and future business prospects. It is alleged he even threatened to revoke her real estate license.

"I can say it's meritorious. She has a strong case," John Sanders Oakes attorney said.

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Posted On: October 15, 2009

Halliburton Employee Sues For Sexual Harassment

Halliburton employee Catarina Rose claims she was subjected to sexual harassment, and a hostile work environment and after reporting a sexual assault--retaliation. According to her lawsuit, Rose was subjected to egregious sexual harassment and intimidation by male coworkers and supervisors, including a sexual assault by a male co-worker.

Once Rose reported the sexual harassment she claims Halliburton management told her "I'll make it so hard on you out here that you'll quit," and "no one asked you to be here so deal with it," along with several other degrading and explicit proposals. Rose states she was forced to use her vacation time for the psychiatric evaluation that was required for her to return to work. The employee who committed the act was disciplined but allowed to return to work after a few days.


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Posted On: October 14, 2009

House Of Gyros Ordered to Pay $17,400 In Sexual Harassment Case

Melvine Davis filed a charge of sexual harassment against her former employer, the House of Gyros, Inc., with the Decatur Human Relations Commission in 2007. In many towns you can file a complaint with the local commission as opposed to the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("

The House of Gyros appealed the decision to the Macon County Circuit Court seeking a reversal of the Commission’s decision which the Judge did. That decision was appealed and the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the Circuit Court and reinstated the $17,400 award by the City’s Human Relations Commission.

“Our only goal with this case was to see that justice was served and we believe that it was,” said Barthelemy.


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Posted On: October 13, 2009

Graduate Assistant At USM Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $112,500

Colleen Speaker a graduate student at the University of Southern Mississippi ("USM") settled her lawsuit with the school for $112,500. Speaker alleged sexual harassment from then-coach Randy Rowley. Rowley, 49, refused to talk about the matter and resigned his position from the university. The allegations included physical as well as mental sexual harassment. There aren't more specifics available at this time.

Speaker was hired as an assistant by Rowley and after she rejected his advances her position was eliminated. This would seem to be a clear case of retaliation and it is unclear if she is also filing a claim for that or if this settlement covers the alleged retaliation as well.

"I have absolutely no comment on any of that," Rowley said. "I resigned due to personal reasons."

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Posted On: October 12, 2009

Female Employee Awarded $127,713 in Sexual Harassment Case

Lindsay Gerken, 25 has been successful in her claim against Michael Ruppert and his company on her claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. The Oregon state Bureau of Labor and Industries ("BOLI") ordered Ruppert and his company to pay Gerken $127,713 in damages for the sexual harassment and retaliation. The ruling said that a continuing pattern of sexual harassment began shortly after Gerken was hired and included Ruppert coming to Gerken’s office door “wearing only his underwear and a smile.” Gerken declined Rupert’s explicit invitation to engage in a sexual relationship and was terminated the following week, which is obvious retaliation.

The Oregon BOLI is similar to the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and is in charge of investigating claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. Cases like this are not uncommon in the work place and it is very important to take immediate action to protect your rights if you are the victim of sexual harassment.

“BOLI will not allow employers to ignore fundamental protections for workers rights,” said Brad Avakian, the state labor commissioner. “Sexual harassment of this magnitude is a brazen violation of the law.”

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Posted On: October 11, 2009

Taco Bell Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $35,000

A llaw between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and a Taco Bell restaurant involving a sexual harassment lawsuit was settled for $35,000. Penn Taco will pay a group of female employees $35,000 as part of a settlement with the EEOC. Additionally the company agreed to revise its anti-discrimination policies, and provide training to supervisors and managers about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and how it applies to sexual harassment.

The company must also post a notice of the settlement. The company is now taking steps to protect employees from unlawful sexual harassment and hopefully won't have issues arise like this in the future.

"We are pleased that Penn Taco worked with us to resolve the case," Equal Employment Opportunity Commission acting regional attorney Debra Lawrence said.

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Posted On: October 10, 2009

Balance Financials Sued For Discrimination of Blind Woman in Chicago

According to the lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") against Balance Financial, the company discriminated against Joyce Snower, a blind woman in Chicago because of her disability. The company made a job offer to the woman to work at its planned Chicago office and she began performing services for them from home. After the company learned the woman was blind they rescinded her job. This could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Melanie Damian, an attorney for Balance, said the woman was never employed by the company. Although offered a position, the woman did not fill out the paperwork to be hired and did not take a drug test, causing the offer to be withdrawn. In addition, the company no longer does business in Chicago and didn’t have the number of employees needed to be covered by the law in this instance.

“We think the case is without any basis,” Damian said. The company will be responding to the EEOC’s complaint, she said.

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Posted On: October 8, 2009

Female Law Partner Sued For Sexual Harassment Of Female Associate

Jennifer Braude a former associate at the law firm Maron Marvel Bradley and Anderson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit which is full of juicy details. There is a twist to this sexual harassment lawsuit however as the harassor is her female boss. According to court papers during the 18 months Braude was an associate at Maron Marvel Bradley & Anderson, she was subjected to a hostile work environment due to the sexually charged conversations initiated by her direct supervisor, Meredith Sossman. Sossman has since been fired and is now assistant vice president at Drexel University's Earle Mack School of Law.

The lawsuit alleges that Sossman talked about her own sexual interests, including engaging in foursomes and kissing her best female friend, who Sossman allegedly described as looking very similar to Braude. Sossman also allegedly made Braude turn around slowly when she entered the room so Sossman could see what she was wearing and made Braude's sex life the subject of discussion. Braude first file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

Sossman would allegedly tell Braude she was dirty hot and pressured her to go with her to a sex toys shop in Concordville, Pa., to purchase a vibrator, directing her on how to use it and instructing her to report back to Sossman in the morning after she used it.


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Posted On: October 7, 2009

Vineyard Manager Squeezing More Than The Grapes

The 31-year-old woman who worked for La Pianta LLC, which does business as Frenchman Hills Vineyard is suing her former employer for sexual harassment. She is represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). She claims her manager engaged in malicious and reckless conduct related to sexual harassment. THe EEOC will file a lawsuit on behalf of a claimant if they believe there is enough information and evidence to succeed.

William Tamayo, an EEOC lawyer based in San Francisco, said the alleged sexual harassment began in May 2008, shortly after the woman began working at the vineyard. He said it lasted three months and ended when the woman quit because of the sexual harassment.

"Sexual harassment is not something that should be a condition of work," Tamayo said,, adding, "Some of the harassers prey on these women in desperate situations."

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Posted On: October 6, 2009

Restaurant Sued For Sexual Harassment Of Minor

Two brothers, Paul Martinez, 57, and John Martinez, 56 who own Arvada Mexican restaurant are being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment of a 16-year-old employee, April Wyatt-now an adult. The two brothers are accused of physical and verbal sexual harassment and then retaliation when they fired the female employee after she complained of the sexual harassment.

According to the lawsuit starting in 2003 and ending in 2006, Paul Martinez repeatedly groped Wyatt by grabbing her backside, crotch and breast; pulled her underwear; and stuck his fingers in her mouth when she yawned. Martinez also shared inappropriate jokes and comments with Wyatt. By the end of 2006 Wyatt could no longer take the sexual harassment and complained. She was fired shortly thereafter which is retaliation.

“The conduct alleged here is reprehensible,” Stuart J. Ishimaru, acting chairman of the EEOC, said in a statement. “The harassment was compounded by the retaliation against a teenager who sought to complain about her illegal treatment.

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Posted On: October 5, 2009

Chicago's Tomayo Financial Services Sued For Sexual Harassment

Tomayo Financial Services, based in Chicago Illinois was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment and retaliation. Tomayo has four offices in Chicago and is a mortgage lending organization. According to the lawsuit female employees were sexually harassed and subjected to retaliation when they complained about the sexual harassment.

The EEOC claims numerous men employed at Tomayo, including executives, were part of continuous and widespread sexual harassment of women. The men referred to women with sexual epithets, engaged in threatening physical and verbal sexual conduct. The women reported the sexual harassment but nothing was done by Tomayo to stop the conduct and it only increased.

John Hendrickson, EEOC regional attorney for the Chicago District, said, “It does not matter what industry is involved—whether it’s automobiles, household products, mortgages—sexual harassment and retaliation are non-starters from both a business and a legal perspective.

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Posted On: October 3, 2009

Can You Say McSexual Harassment?

McDonalds is being sued for sexual harassement by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit McDonalds failed to stop sexual harassment of male employees by a female supervisor at a restaurant in New Jersey. The EEOC claims Mcdonalds engaged in unlawful employment practices based on sexual harassment and created a hostile work environment.

The EEOC claims the underage workers were subjected to unwelcome comments about their appearance by an assistant manager. McDonald’s allowed the supervisor to physically grab, touch, spank, hug, and pinch male employees without their consent because of their gender. In situations where minors work with adults there is also an extra burden on the employer to make sure the adults who are in management positions are not doing anything inappropriate to the minor workers.

“McDonald’s failed to take sufficient action to remedy or prevent sexual harassment of its employees,” according to the complaint. The unlawful employment practices were intentional and “done with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of Charging Party.”


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Posted On: October 2, 2009

Hilltown Packing Sued For Sexual Harassment

Hilltown Packing is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment and retaliation. It all started when Filomena Ruelas who packed broccoli in the fields for the company between 1999 and 2005, faced sexual comments, propositions and touching from her supervisor. After reporting the behavior to management, she was not called back to work the next season, the suit says.

In cases like this many times the employer is not interested in helping to stop the sexual harassment because they are only interested in making money. Anyone who put a monkey wrench into the money makeing maching is deemed a trouble maker and retaliated against.

"All I wanted to do is work in peace and help support my family," Ruelas said.


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Posted On: October 1, 2009

EEOC Sues Chicago Auto Dealer Over Sexual Harassment

Castle Chevrolet has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment alleging the Chicago auto dealer's female customers were called dingbats and female employees were routinely called obscene epithets. The lawsuit alleges principals in the dealership made sexually hostile, abusive and threatening remarks to female employees and groped them.

According to the lawsuit once the female employees complained about the sexual harassment the dealership did nothing to change its conduct. Castle Chevrolet general manager Bob Politza is denying the allegations, saying the company has "a very strict" policy against sexual harassment.

EEOC regional attorney John Hendrickson said in a statement Wednesday it was amazing that at a time when the auto industry is struggling for survival and women exercise so much influence in the marketplace that anyone would in engage in sexual harassment or show contempt for female customers.

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