Posted On: January 31, 2010

Ivy Hall Assisted Living Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $43,000

Ivy Hall Assisted Living, LLC agreed to pay $43,000 and other non-monetary relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Khadija Ahdaoui a Muslin employed by Ivy Hall. According to details in the lawsuit Ivy Hall discriminated against Ahdaoui in her housekeeping job by firing her rather than accommodating her religious belief that she wear a Muslim head scarf ("hijab").

Court documents claim Ivy Hall insisted that as a condition of her continued employment, Ahdaoui remove and refrain from wearing her hijab on the job. When she refused, she was terminated. What is alleged is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires that employers make an effort to accommodate employees’ and applicants’ sincerely held religious beliefs. The accommodation is this case was very minor and Ivy Halls response to the accommodation was insensitive.

“Title VII protects employees from having to make the choice Ms. Ahdaoui was forced to make between her religious beliefs and her employment,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

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Posted On: January 30, 2010

Hotel Magnate Kenneth Seaton Sued For Sexual Harassment

Hotel magnate Kenneth Seaton is being sued for sexual harassment by two employees who seek millions of dollars in compensation. In a related bit of news, Seaton faces criminal charges over the alleged sexual battery of five women last fall at his business. The lawsuit was filed by two housekeepers, Samantha Fiedorowicz and Candice Michelle. According to allegations in the lawsuit, both women were required to attend an afternoon meeting in which Seaton was intoxicated and tried to kiss and grope the women including touching their buttocks and breasts.

The lawsuit also alleges unwelcome sexually offensive remarks and conduct, including lewd and inappropriate comments, requests for sex and fondling. Both women claim retaliation as they were terminated when they refused and resisted Seatons sexual harassment and offers for sex. The lawsuit seeks over $ 2 million in damages. Many times sexual harassment claims also involve claims of retaliation as the harassor will discipline or fire the employees for not cooperating with the request for sex.

"You would be surprised what Viagra can do for an old man," the lawsuit, filed in Sevier County Circuit Court, quotes Seaton as telling the two plaintiffs in the action. "If you cooperate," the quote goes on, "you won't need a husband."

Posted On: January 29, 2010

Eagle Wings Industries Pays $428,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Eagle Wings Industries, Inc. pays $428,500 to a class of female employees to settle their sexual harassment and Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female workers. According to the lawsuit the female employees were subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment. One female was also discriminated against by the company when it required her to undergo an unlawful medical examination, a clear violation of the ADA.

I see more cases like this in Illinois and this type of behavior still seems to be taking place in the workplace. It is very important for females to come forward when they encounter this type of sexual harassment and discrimination and contact an attorney. Many companies would rather sweep the issue under the rug once an employee comes forward and engage in retaliation rather than take the sexual harassment complaint seriously. As you can see from this case, it is a costly mistake for the company.

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Posted On: January 28, 2010

Adult Novelty Company Pays $500,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Hightstown adult novelties company must pay $500,000 to Doreen Longa a former employee who was fired after complaining of sexual harassment. According to the lawsuit the adult company did not investigate the sexual harassment charges Longa lodged against a co-worker, and Longo was terminated when she complained that she was being retaliated against.

Longo filed a lawsuit based on sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment after being terminated. In the lawsuit Longo said her bosses ignored her repeated complaints of sexual harassment by a a co-worker and that he even threatened her with violence. Longo filed a formal complaint with managment and was immediately disciplined for poor work performance. Longa was terminated two months later after complaining about the retaliation that was taking place at work. Longa claims her boss told her the reason for the termination was her complaints about sexual harassment.

"The president of the company yelled and screamed at her and disciplined her for the first time in the four years she’d worked there. He accused her of saying bad things about the company.”

Posted On: January 27, 2010

Monmouth County Employee Carol Melnick Awarded $470,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Carol Melnick filed a lawsuit against the Monmouth County board in 2005 claiming discrimination based on gender, retaliation, hostile work environment and sexual harassment. The case was settled in 2007 for $470,000 but the details were sealed. In the latest development in the case the New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled the terms should be made public and thus the details were released.

Melnick remains employed by the county despite her award on the sexual harassment lawsuit. When you get a settlement for almost half a million dollars from a public entity, there must be good facts supporting the allegations. Both parties should keep in mind that when a settlement is reached involving a pubilc entity, the terms of the settlement will probably come out and not remain private. Unlike a private company, the public has a right to know how their money is being spent.

Posted On: January 26, 2010

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $237,072

The Mineola Fire Department will pay $237,072 to settle a class action age discrimination lawsuit which was filed on behalf of 25 firefighters by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the allegations in the lawsuit the fire district refused to let volunteer firefighters over age 60 accrue credit toward a retirement pension, because of their age. The direct result was after a firefigher turned 60 they lost pension increases which is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

Because of the downturn in the economy many businesses and government agencies are looking for ways to cut costs. Discriminating against an entire class of people is not the way to balance the budget. This case should act as a shot across the bow of government that treating people over 40 differently than other employees will not be tolerated and will cost them money in the long run. In this case the 25 firefighters will get increases to their monthly retirement checks and some will get cash settlements.

“This fire department’s system in effect penalized older firefighters because of their age, and that was simply illegal,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.
Posted On: January 24, 2010

Heavy Machine Operator Awarded $47,000 in Sexual Harassment Case

Tammy Ratzlaff a female heavy-duty machine operator was awarded $47,000 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after she was sexually assaulted by the owner of Abbotsford construction company, Albert Rondeau. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is the same as the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Ratzlaff testified that Rondeau was old enough to be her father and she believed he would be a mentor and teach her the various aspects of the job. Things began to change and within a month of starting her new job Rondeau began to make sexual advances to her and once in the office grabbed her buttocks and tried to hug her while saying sexually offensive remarks.

One of the job requirements was for Ratzlaff to stay overnight in hotels because the jobs required travel. The problem was Rondeau would stay at the same hotel. The sexual harassment was so obvious that other members of the crew knew of her predicament and offered to escort her to and from her room. They also made efforts to ensure she would not be left alone with Rondeau while in the hotel complex. Even with these best efforts however there as an early morning meeting and she ended up alone with Rondeau in his room and he took the opportunity to say he found her attractive and wanted to have sex with her.

The sexual harassment culminated on the evening of Nov. 25 when Ratzlaff was in her motel room and opened the door upon hearing a knock. Rondeau forced his way in, grabbed her throat and kissed her "aggressively, forcing his tongue into her mouth while he grabbed her breasts and tried to get his hands into her vagina. She kneed him in the thigh but he repeated his conduct.

Ratzlaff said the experiences left her "devastated, scared and traumatized."

Posted On: January 20, 2010

Vicky Crawford Awarded $1.5 Million in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Former Metro Schools Payroll Coordinator Vicky Crawford was awarded about $1.5 million on her claims she was wrongfully terminated when she cooperated in a sexual harassment investigation of a school official. This is also known as retaliation. Crawford, who had over 30 years service with the school disctrict claimed she was fired because she cooperated in the investigation. Her lawsuit was initially dismissed by a federal judge and upheld on appeal. Last January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Crawford v. Metro Schools, that Crawford could sue claiming retaliation even though she was not the one who brought the original sexual harassment claims. This was a landmark case and should help employees who have been fired for cooperating with sexual harassment investigations.

The problems for Crawford began when there was an investigation into sexual harassment claims against Employee Relations Director Gene Hughes. Crawford told investigators Hughes would ask to see her breasts, grab his crotch saying, "You know what's up," and on one occasion pulled her head to his crotch. Human resources officer Veronica Frazier assured Crawford she would be protected from retaliation if she came forward and helped with the investigation. In the end no action was taken against Hughes however on the same day Frazier turned in her report on the allegations, she also sent a letter to Metro Nashville's internal audit department informing them of concerns with the operation of Crawford's payroll department. Crawford was then fired.

"It's been a long, long fight. It's been very hard all these years, and we're very happy with the verdict," said Ann Steiner, Crawford's attorney.
Posted On: January 15, 2010

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Overture Center Settled

The city of Madison and the Overture Center have reached a tentative settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by receptionist Monica Everson. The exact terms of the agreement are not yet public. The allegations of the sexual harassment lawsuit include Eversons claims that her former boss and Overture director Robert D'Angelo physically and verbally sexually harassing her for more than ten years. D'Angelo no longer works for Overture as he retired after Everson filed her sexual harassment lawsuit ending as fifteen year career.

What probably prompted the settlement was the fact that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb refused to dismiss the sexual harassment lawsuit, saying both sides had agreed that Everson provided "sufficient evidence to prove that D'Angelo's treatment of her in the 1990s created a ‘hostile work environment.'  The Judge went on to say that is was clear D'Angelo groped, fondled or otherwise inappropiately touched Everson more than 500 times over the course of her employment.

"It is unnecessary to recount all the acts that plaintiff alleges," the judge stated, "because it is clear that even a fraction of them would be sufficient to give rise to a federal claim."
Posted On: January 14, 2010

Female Prison Guards Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $2.5 Million

Eightenn former prison guards settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $2.5 Million. The female prison guards allege they were subjected to sexually demeaning remarks in front of inmates which violated security and put their lives at risk. One female guard alleged a male guard suggested an inmate should have sex with her in an area of the prison not covered by security cameras. Other allegations are that the male guards would use the walkie-talkie system in a jamming fashion to prevent the female guards from asking for help.

It was further alleged that high ups in the prison system were trying to recruit the prison guards as prostitutes. This type of behavior by public officials is outragous and cannot be tolerated. In cases like this the females must come forward and fight for their rights. Employment cases involving sexual harassment and retaliation can be difficult to prove and it helps to have an experienced attorney involved early in the process.

“We had names and dates and places. Some women were asked to join in prostitution rings that were run by lieutenants, and that was substantiated because [one] lieutenant’s partner was arrested for running a prostitution ring,” by Hartford police, attorney Ponvert said.
Posted On: January 13, 2010

Cadillac Dealer Pays $140,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Stokes-Hodges Chevrolet Cadillac will pay $140,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleged the car dealer allowed a white male management consultant to subject an African American sales manager to racially derogatory comments. The comments occured when the white consultant would visit the dealership three or four times a week over a four week period. As a result of the nasty comments, the African American sales manager was subjected to a hostile work environment.

The comments were humiliating and were always in the presence of other people. The sales manager complained to management about the derogatory comments and at one point two white managers asked the consultant to stop his discriminatory behavior. However the consultant ignored the requests of the white managers and continued to make the derogatory comments at every opportunity. Upper management did not force the consultant to stop his behavior and a lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of the African American employee.

“This is an outrageous case where an African American employee was subjected to humiliating and degrading behavior,” said Bernice Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “
Posted On: January 12, 2010

Crowell Pays $21,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Crowell will pay $21,500 to settle a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit filed on behalf of Deanna Collins by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to court papers Crowell Contract and Design, Inc. subjected Deanna Collins to a hostile work environment. The basis of the hostile work environment was when Timmy Christopher who is the president and co-owner of the company would tug on Collins’ pants and made multiple threats to Collins to pull down her pants.

In a remarkable act of stupidity, Christopher pulled Collins pants down in front of her co-workers which resulted in her great embarrassment and humiliation. Collins could no longer take this and other forms of sexual harassment and quit her position. A constructive discharge occurs when circumstances get so bad and a hostile work environment exists that forces an employee to quit; as it what happened here. It is not very often that a president of a company engages in such blatant sexual harassment and does so in front of witnesses.

“This settlement should serve as a notice to employers that the EEOC does not consider the threat or the act of pulling a woman’s pants down in the workplace to be a sophomoric prank,” said Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas District Office.

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Posted On: January 11, 2010

EMS Workers Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $142,000

Three Hispanic Emergency Medical Services ("EMS") females settle their sexual harassment lawsuit with West New York for $142,000. In a typical move, the town denies any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. In the present economic environment $142,000 is a good deal of money and I think the settlement speaks volumes about what really happened. Documents filed in court claim the five women allege their supervisor, Edward Monti, the former director of the ambulance service, sexually harassed them. They claim the sexual harassment consisted of sexual gestures, words, conduct, and behavior.

The females also claim they reported the conduct of Monti and the town took no action. Instead of an investigation and the sexual harassment to cease, the women claim Monti reduced their work hours in retaliation for complaining about his behavior. Monti is no longer in the position he once held and is instead the town's director of school crossing guards. So lets recap. The town pays $142,000 claiming it would cost more money to continue the litigation, while denying any liability and moving Monti to a new position where he supervises school crossing guards. Sounds like the town realized it had a problem and is quickly trying to end the problem.

"It ultimately comes down to dollars," said town attorney Daniel Horgan, who said by the time the case were to have made it to discovery, the town would have spent more than the cost to settle."

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Posted On: January 10, 2010

Sims Chevrolet Settles Racial Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit For $85,000

Sims Chevrolet pays $85,000 settling a racial discrimination and retalia­tion lawsuit brought by five former employees. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the former employee. The allegations include that beginning in July 2007, Sims Chevrolet subjected a class of African Americans to different terms and conditions of employment on the basis of their race. Additionally this created a hostile work environment.

According to papers filed in the lawsuit the racial discrimination included racial epithets, such as repeated use of the N-word. Management also made decisions based upon the race of the employee and at one point the company engaged in retaliation against one employee after he complained about the racial discrimination.

EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence of the Philadelphia District Office, which oversees parts of Ohio, said, “This case of discrimination could have been avoided if the employer had followed Title VII requirements."
Posted On: January 9, 2010

Auto Company Pays $1.505 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment, Gender and Age Discrimination Lawsuit With The EEOC

Arapahoe Motors, Inc. which does business as Ralph Schomp motors will pay $1.505 million to settle an age discrimination, sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of five women and five men. The women claim they were subjected to sexual harassment, gender discrimination and a hostile work environment while employed. Some of the conduct alleged in the lawsuit include offensive comments and physical touching. As a result of reporting this conduct and of refusing to participate in this type of behavior the women claim they were demoted and had their salaries reduced. Some claim they were not promoted because of gender discrimination.

On the age discrimination claim the EEOC claims five male employees over age 40 were terminated because of their ages and replaced with younger, less experienced workers. The lawsuit also claims that a manger under the age of 30 made age-related comments about the older workers before they were fired and in a move that makes no business sense, employees younger than 40 with lower sales numbers were retained.

“Sexual harassment and sex discrimination against women in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as the auto industry, are still unfortunate realities,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru."

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Posted On: January 8, 2010

Saks Fifth Avenue Pays $170,000 To Settle ADA Lawsuit

Saks Fifth Avenue will pay $170,000 to settle an Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of former Saks makeup artist, Marlene Babin. Babin claimed she was fired because of ulcerative colitis which she claims was a disability. Babin underwent five major surgeries in connection with her colitis and was forced to spend three months in the hospital.

The final straw in the case came when Babin applied for an open makeup artist position at the store’s La Mer counter. Babin interviewed for the La Mer position and remarkabley on that same day, Saks sent Babin a letter stating that it did not have any positions appropriate for her background, even though Babin had more than 20-years of experience as a makeup artist. Saks eventually hired a make-up artist with no experience. Saks later admitted that Babin had been very qualified for the La Mer position. That statement proved damning to Saks position and they decided to settle.

Babin said “I was devastated when Saks fired me and then refused to hire me back. I loved my job and took a lot of pride and joy from working with people. The court’s decision in refusing to throw my case out means a great deal to me. I am grateful that I had the oppor­tunity to have my story heard. I feel that by this settlement, justice was served.”

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Posted On: January 7, 2010

Vanguard Group Pays $300,000 To Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Vanguard Group settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $300,000. The lawsuit was based on a black prospective employee, Barbara Alexander who was not hired for a financial planning manager position because of her race. Alexander had substantial work experience and was well qualified for the position of financial planning manager. Alexander has an MBA in finance and possessed 14 years of financial management experience. Vanguard passed over Alexander for employment and hired a less qualified white applicant.

In this day and age many companies are sophisticated enough not to come right out and say we aren't hiring you because of your race. Racial discrimination lawsuits are usually proven and settlements obtained through diligent discovery and comparison of other employees. It is imperative to contact an employment attorney who concentrates on discrimination lawsuits.

Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, said, “We commend Vanguard for its willingness to resolve this matter amicably and early in the litigation process."

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Posted On: January 6, 2010

EEOC Settles Americans With Disabilities Lawsuit For $30,000

Riverstone Residential, a property management firm settled a discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of former employee Shaun Oldridge for $30,000. Oldridge suffers from bipolar disorder and was hospitalized due to his condition. Even though Oldridge notified his employer about being in the hospital, the company fired him. At previous times during his employment, Oldridge asked for time off for medical reasons and was refused.

The lawsuit was filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") which prohibits companies from discriminating against employees who have medical conditions which fall under the Act. Oldridge said “I think what they did was inappropriate and unethical." I couldn't agree more and obviously, the company realized what they did was wrong and settled this case. It was nice to see Oldridge stand up for himself and take on this company. There are many rights available to employees even in states like Illinois which are right to work states.

EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill said, “People with disabilities are an untapped resource that employers should utilize."

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Posted On: January 5, 2010

Chevrolet Car Dealer Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With EEOC For $110,000

Bill Heard Chevrolet Corp. will pay $110,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. According to court documents the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleged management and workers made crude remarks about women's bodies, grabbed at one female employees breasts, persistently solicited females for sexual favors and sexually assaulted at least one female employee. When the women cmplained to management in an effort to stop the sexual harassment, the females were either demoted, disciplined or fired--all forms of retaliation.

The lawsuit also alleges that management told some female employees that women should not be in the auto business. This type of behavior is not acceptable and the females stood up for themselves and made management pay. It is very important to document behavior like this and to contact an employment attorney who can file a complaint on your behalf with either the EEOC or in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR will cross-file with the EEOC but by law only one agency will take the lead in investigating the complaint.

“The women in this case sought to earn a living selling cars and rightfully expected to do so while being treated with dignity and respect,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC.”

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Posted On: January 4, 2010

Mesaba Airlines Flying Low After Paying $130,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Mesaba Airlines settled a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of five individuals. The EEOC alleged in the lawsuit that Mesaba Airlines violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it terminated a Jewish customer service agent because she refused to work on the Jewish Sabbath. Four Christian applicants who applied for employment were allegedly rejected during interviews because they stated a desire for weekend shifts that would not conflict with Sunday church services.

Mesaba Airlines had a policy whereby employees could not request a shift change even if they made arranagements with other employees and made the arrangements well in advanace of the schedule change. The no shift swap policy conflicted with Title VII, which requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee whose religious belief conflicts with a work requirement. This only except is if the accommodation creates an undue hardship on the employer. As a result of this lawsuit Mesaba Airlines no longer has the policy. The EEOC claimed the policy was a form of discrimination.

“Employees should not be forced to choose between practicing their faith and keeping or getting a job,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “As this suit shows, the EEOC vigorously enforces Title VII’s protection against religious discrimination.”

Posted On: January 2, 2010

EEOC Settles Retaliation Lawsuit With Rock Concrete Construction For $31,000

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") settled a retaliation lawsuit with Rock Concrete Construc­tion Corporation for $31,000. In addition Rock Concrete Construction will also provide workers with discrimination training and allow employees access to a company hotline for reporting work place discrimination. The basis of the lawsuit was the company stopped providing work to Eric Bufkin who filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

Details of the lawsuit include Eric Bufkin’s filing a charge of discrimination against a company that Rock Concrete Construction did a good deal of work with. When Rock Concrete Construction found out, they asked Bufkin to drop his charge and told him that if he did not it would impact him in a negative way. Bufkin refused to drop the charge of discrimination he filed with the EEOC and Rock Concrete stopping providing work for him. What Rock Concrete Construction engage in was retaliation. Retaliation occurs when a company threatens you with a negative job action if you file a charge of discrimination or if you won't submit to their demands and drop a charge of discrimination.

“Employers are simply not entitled to punish employees for complaining about discrim­ination,” said Laurie A. Young, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office.

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Posted On: January 1, 2010

Aaron Rentals Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With EEOC

Aaron Rental Inc. which operates more than 1500 stores nationwide settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
According to the lawsuit a general manager of Aaron’s Fairview Heights, Illinois store made sexually explicit comments to a female employer. The young female employee was also solicited for sex on a regular basis by the general manager. The EEOC would not disclose the amount of the settlement which also provides what is known as remedial relief. Remedial relief usually includes training for management and the establishment of a hotline for reporting discrimination.

Also alleged by the EEOC is the manager repeatedly attempted to force the female employee to have sex with him and that the sexual harassment culminated when he assaulted her in the store’s warehouse. Many times older members of management prey upon young female workers because they believe the young workers will not know how to respond to the sexual harassment or will be too afraid to report it. Warehouses are usually isolated and there may not be witnesses around so they could become dangerous places. It is very important to let management know as soon as possible that you are being sexually harassed and seek the advice of an experienced sexual harassment attorney.

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