Posted On: April 30, 2010

Lafayette College Pays $1 Million To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Lafayette Colleg pays $1,000,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of five female employees. According to the lawsuit, the college’s supervisor in charge of “loss prevention” engaged in repeated and unwelcome sexual harassment of the women in the public safety department. The supervisor allegedly kissed the women and made hand gestures about sex acts he wanted them to perform.

Probably the most damaging evidence was that he e-mailed pornography and sexually explicit materials to the women. Email is turning out to be the best evidence because it is very hard to deny and it is something you can put in front of a jury and it is self explainatory. Colleges and employers would be wise to step up their sexual harassment and discrimination training to all employees to ensure this type of behavior does not happen. You can see how costly this type of behavior is.

“No one should have to endure the abuse these women faced at work,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “This significant settlement shows that the EEOC will insist on meaningful relief for workers who are victims of harassment.”

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Posted On: April 29, 2010

County Worker Awarded $150,000 For Sexual Harassment

A jury awarded $150,000 to Josie Puglisi for her sexual harassment lawsuit. According to Puglisi, a male co-worker sexually harassed her for months and she repeatedly complained to management but they failed to stop the harassment. According to testimony a male co-worker snuck up behind Puglisi and bit and licked her ear. Puglisi said she immediately reported the alleged incident to a supervisor, but that the county waited five months to discipline him and to keep him away from her.

I will never understand why companies don't take action immediately. In this case the county will have to pay a good deal of money just because it didn't act quickly. At trial the county admitted it took too long to act. It is nice to see someone stick up for themselves and pursue the claim to the end. Hopefully companies will take sexual harassment more serious in the future.

"It was a relief to know that they owned up to it, and that no other woman will have to go through this," Puglisi said after the verdict. "

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Posted On: April 28, 2010

Union Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $80,000

The Maryland Classified Employees Association ("MCEA") union pays $80,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Gail Tate-Buntin. According to the lawsuit Buntin was involved in an EEOC investigation based on allegations of another employee, Michele Handy. Buntin claims she suffered retaliation because she was truthful during the investigation and the company did not like what she witnessed.

According to the lawsuit MCEA denied a promotion to Handy and subjected her to discriminatory terms and conditions of employment because she filed a discrimin­ation complaint with the EEOC. This is a classic case of an employee minding her own business and being brought into an investigation and then having something negative happen to her. Employers would be wise to look at this case and develope employment practices that don't violate the rights of its' employees.

“Title VII depends for its enforcement upon the cooperation of employees who are willing to oppose or report employment discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.

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Posted On: April 27, 2010

Chevrolet Dealership Pays $120,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Preston Hood Chevrolet pays $120,000 to settle a sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuits were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of females employees and Rickey Hayes. According to the lawsuits Preston Hood subjected a class of female employees to gender harassment and to sexually explicit, provocative and insulting language, pornographic material and unwelcome sexual advances.

Additionally, Preston Hood subjected Rickey Hayes to racial discrimination because he was black. Details of that harassment include, racial slurs and racially derogatory language. In both cases, the employees complained to management and nothing was done to stop or correct the harassment. You would think management would have the brains to realize that with so many people coming forward and complaining something bad must be going on. Many times management likes to put its head in the sand and take the approach that if they just ignore the problem it will go away. That was a costly mistake in this case.

“Every employee deserves the freedom to work in an environment free from any form of harassment,” EEOC attorney Delner Franklin-Thomas said.

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Posted On: April 26, 2010

County Pays $1.59 Million To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Middlesex County will pay $1.59 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the sheriff department. Former sheriff’s officers Joan Ivan and Angel Jazikoff, alleged they were subjected to years of sexual propositions, innuendo and lewd, offensive behavior. This county recently paid $1 Million to settle another sexual harassment lawsuit which was filed by five women. You would think this sheriffs department would get their act together and spend some time fighting crime.

Ivan was an officer from 1999 to 2003, when she was fired after failing to pass a qualification test with her service weapon. Garrigan claims she was fired in retaliation for bringing the lawsuit. According to court documents, in March 2002, then county personnel Director Thomas Cross directed Sheriff Spicuzzo to reprimand an officer, but the officer was told no action would be taken. This case took seven years to settle and you can see how long it takes for cases to settle sometimes.

"It was on-going sexual and gender harassment. Individuals were accused of creating a hostile work environment,” said Jeffrey Garrigan, one of the lawyers for the two women.

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Posted On: April 25, 2010

Electric Contractor Pays $100,000 To Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

Cannon & Wendt Electric Co. will pay $100,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Victor Cortez who claims he was subjected to racist statements based on his national origin and that he was the victim of retaliation because the company terminated him after he complained about the unlawful discrimination.

According to details in the lawsuit Cortez's immediate supervisor Mark Ghose made very crude and illegal comments to him. The comments included “I hate all Mexicans,” “they are worthless,” and “I hate Mexican music.” Ghose made it clear that he wanted to fire Cortez. Cortez complained to upper management and to the owner Albert Wendt, however nothing was done to stop the harassment and he was fired. This company is a repeat offender as far as discriminating against employee and it is nice to see the EEOC keep after this company. Hopefully, people will read about what is taking place and not do business with this company.

"This is a particularly troubling case because the EEOC sued this particular employer for religious discrimination a few years ago. After being sued, most employers take their EEO obligations under the law seriously. It is troubling to the EEOC to see a repeat offender.” said Janet Elizondo, EEOC attorney.

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Posted On: April 24, 2010

Lafayette College Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $1 Million

Lafayette College pays $1 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by female employees. According to the lawsuit a campus police officer sexually harassed the females and subjected them to other lewd behavior. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of five women. According to the lawsuit the five women allege officer Barry Stauffer continued harassing them even after they complained about him to administrators.

Some of the details of the lawsuit include claims that Stauffer grabbed the breasts and buttocks of female employees,made lewd comments describing sex acts he wanted to perform on them, tried to look inside their shirts at their breasts, and unsnapped their bras. And probably the most damaging evidence was that he sent women e-mails with pornographic content. This type of behavior can expose a college to a great deal of liability as evidenced by the million dollar settlement.

''No one should have to endure the abuse that these women faced at work,'' said EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline A. Berrien.


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Posted On: April 23, 2010

Construction Company Pays $122,500 To Settle National Origin, Racial and Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

Pace Services a construction company pays $122,500 to settle a national origin, racial discrimination and religious discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit wasa filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Mohammad Kaleemuddin who is of the Islamic faith and East Indian descent. The lawsuit also included 13 other employees because they were black or Hispanic.

According to the allegations in the lawsuit a Pace supervisor referred to Kaleemuddin as “terrorist,” “Taliban,” “Osama” and “Al-Qaeda.” Kaleemuddin complained to superiors about the harassment but nothing was done to stop it. Finally, Kaleemuddin was fired by the supervisor who was harassing him. Allegedly the same supervisor, as well as others in Pace management, regularly referred to African Americans as “n----s” and to Hispanics as “f-----g Mexicans.”

EEOC Attorney Jim Sacher said, “Employees have an absolute right to be free from discriminatory harassment in the workplace. The EEOC will vigorously challenge violations of this statutory right.”

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Posted On: April 22, 2010

Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Pays $30,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Golden State Mutual Life Insurance will pay $30,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of William Barringer after he was demoted in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. According to the lawsuit, an employee who Barringer managed was sexually harassed by his supervisor, and this supervisor also supervised Barringer. Barringer reported the sexual harassment to the vice president and also told his supervisor that he was reporting his behavior.

In this case the Barringer stuck his own neck out to protect one of his employees and he suffered retaliation. It is good to see a good boss who goes to bat for his worker. I am very glad the EEOC was able to help Mr. Barringer and he was able to make the company pay for their handling of this situation. Good job Mr. Barringer.

“Employees should be confident that they can make their employers aware of violations of federal anti-discrimination laws without fear of reprisal,” said Lynette A. Barnes attorney of EEOC. “The anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII are indispensable to the attainment of a workplace free of discrimination.”

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Posted On: April 21, 2010

SDI Athens East Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $70,000

SDI Athens East, LLC, doing business as Sonic and Tomco Management, LLC, pays $70,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a carhop. The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female worker who claimed she was the subject of sexual comments and other sexual type behavior.

The lawsuit alleged the store manager of a Sonic drive-in restaurant subjected a female carhop to a barrage of sexually charged comments and repeated sexual overtures. The lawsuit also states that the comments and conduct by the manager were so severe that the female was forced to resign, which is also known as constructive discharge. Cases like this illustrate why better training should be held in the workplace. Hopefully, this company will get the message that sexual harassment is not tolerated.

“The abuse suffered in this case is precisely the kind behavior that Title VII was enacted to stop” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC.

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Posted On: April 20, 2010

University Pays $450,000 To Settle Age Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit

The University of Louisiana ("ULM"), will pay $450,000 to settle an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of former professor and dean of the College of Business Administration, Dr. Van McGraw. According to the lawsuit McGraw alleges the university rejected him for employ­ment repeatedly because of his age, and because he had filed an earlier age discrimination lawsuit against the university.

The lawsuit alleges the University violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). McGraw had previously worked for the university for 37 years and retired in1989 as dean of the College of Business Administration. After retiring he was imme­diately rehired as a professor in the Department of Manage­ment and Marketing. ULM terminated McGraw in 1996 under a then-new board policy regarding the reemployment of retirees.


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Posted On: April 18, 2010

EEOC's Top Categories Of Filed Charges Released

The most frequently filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in 2009 were racial discrimination (36 percent), retaliation (36 percent) and gender discrimin­ation (30 percent). The reason why the numbers add up to over 100 is that charges of discrimination can have multiple categories selected. For example someone may file a charge claiming racial discrimination, gender discrimination and retaliation. In fact it is more common to have multiple charges than just a single charge of discrimination.

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Posted On: April 12, 2010

Mayors Administrative Assistant Gets $50,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

The administrative assistance to former Mayor Gary Becker’s will receive $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed. According to the discrimination complaint she worked in a hostile work environment because of the sexual harassing nature of the comments and acts of the Mayor. She also claimed retaliation because she was terminated for filing a complaint about the sexual harassment.

The settlement amount includes $20,000 for compensatory damages, $5,000 for past wages and $25,000 for attorney fees. In cases like this, where one man has so much power, lawyers will often advice the party to settle. If this case were to go to trial and if the facts alleged were proven, the damages would easily be in the six figure range.

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Posted On: April 11, 2010

Tyson Foods Sued For Disability Discrimination

Tyson Foods Inc., was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). A violation of the ADA occurs when there is an allegation of disability discrimination. According to the lawsuit Tyson refused to hire Mark White because he had epilipsy. According to a doctor hired by Tyson there was no job White could perform because of the epilipsy.

The problem with that theory is that White had successfully worked at Tyson in the maintenance department on two prior occasions after he was diagnosed with epilepsy but before the company had hired a doctor to perform medical screenings. It seems obvious to me that Tyson just didn't want the man working for them and used this doctors report as a pretext to not hiring him.

“It is illegal for a company to refuse to employ a disabled person while assuming the person cannot perform the job,” said Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney at the EEOC

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Posted On: April 8, 2010

Male Deputy Awarded $350,000 In Sexual Harassment Case

Deputy Robert Lyznick was awarded $350,000 in his sexual harassment lawsuit after complaining that his male supervisor sexually harassed him for several months. In the lawsuit Lyznick sued the county and former Sgt. Charles Dery who was the supervisor of Lyznick. In a strange twist to the story, Dery countersued Lyznick and two others but he did not prevail in his lawsuit. Some of the allegations in the lawsuit include Dery asking Lyznick if he had ever engaged in oral sex with a man and told him to bend over for a rectal examination. This type of behavior would create a hostile work environment.

The final straw for Lyznick happened when he was getting dressed in the locker room and Dery slipped a finger into his underwear and touched the deputy's rear end. There were other officers who came forward and also complained about Dery and the Judge believed the testimony of them in this case. The sexual harassment lawsuit started in a wierd manner as it was originally a jury trial but both sides were having trouble picking a jury and agreed to have a bench trial and let the Judge decide the issue.

"He wanted to sue the county for money and get rid of Dery," The County's Attorney said.

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Posted On: April 7, 2010

Tire Company Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $2 Million

Les Schwab Tire Centers will pay $2 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of women who were not hired by the company. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed the lawsuit on behalf of the females and alleged that the women were qualified to change tires but the culture of the organization was to not hire females. According to details in the lawsuit, over 200 women were denied sales and service positions with Les Schwab Tire Centers.

This lawsuit took four years to settle and you can see how long these types of lawsuits can take. People should realize the value of trying to settle an employment discrimination case early. If cases don't settle they tend to drag on for years and most end up settling anyway. By settling a case early, the added expense and uncertainty of a lawsuit is avoided. In this case, with over 200 women involved and four years of litigation, I am sure Les Schwab Tire Centers spent a good deal of money on attorney fees.

"The EEOC will continue to investigate employers and industries that have put women in certain types of jobs, and men in others," said Mike Baldonado, director of the agency's San Francisco district.

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Posted On: April 6, 2010

Female Police Recruit Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $170,000

Nicole Whitley agreed to settle her sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation lawsui against the city for $170,000. According to the lawsuit Whitley was fired in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaint while she was a police cadet at the state police academy. The problem for Whitley started when she was called into a room by a lieutenant and told that her nipples showed through her uniform during training and she was asked whether she was wearing a sports bra. The lieutenant went on to tell her to wear extra lawyers of clothing and a coat during future training.

Whitley complained to superiors about the conversation and need to wear extra clothing and felt that she was being singled out. Whitley injured herself and was placed on light duty. She was fired a few months later citing her probationary performance review as the reason. In that review she was cited for missing classes and failure to turn in a report. She believes this was a pretext for firing her because she complained about the comments. After being fired Whitley finished college and received a degree in criminal justice but has been unable to find employment.

This case shows the long term damage that can occur if you complain about discrimination. It is important to follow through and not let a termination of employment go unchallenged. In this case, she is getting a good settlement and this should help her find future employment.


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Posted On: April 4, 2010

Dona Ana County Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $150,000

Dona Ana County settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with five women for $150,000. The women sued the county under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claiming they were subjected to a hostile work environment by the county. All of the women worked as custodians and had male supervisors who would allegedly make derogatory and sexual comments to the women. The women complained about the conduct of their supervisors and the discrimination continued.

The women first filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and then the EEOC referred to case to the United States Justice Department for investigation. You can see how much money agencies and companies have to pay because of the behavior of their workers when they act in such a foolish fashion. Until companies and organizations properly train their employees on what is acceptable behavior these types of cases will continue.

"It is critical that employers understand what constitutes sexual harassment, and that they take allegations of harassment seriously," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

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Posted On: April 3, 2010

Auto Dealer Sued For Sexual Harassment

Twenty Three year old Katherine Salas filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bical Chevrolet. According to published reports, some of the top men at the car dealership snapped her bra, whacked her rear end with a backscratcher and hounded her with sexual advances. Salas also alleges that things got so bad for her that she quit her job which is referred to as constructive discharge. Salas only worked for the dealership for six weeks as their receptionist and things must have been very bad if she had to quit.

In a good piece of luck for Salas and bad news for the dealership, general manager Charles Albanese sent Salas suggestive text messages. This is starting to be the best type of evidence of sexual harassment. The general manager will have a hard time explaining those messages. People should be aware that even if a text message is deleted on a cell phone, with the right software, the text message can still be retrieved from that cell phone. In male dominated fields like auto sales, there seems to be a culture of harassment toward females. Lets hope this lawsuit helps put an end to this type of behavior.

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Posted On: April 2, 2010

Chicago Based RJB Properties Sued For Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

RJB Properties, Inc. and Blackstone Consulting, Inc., have been sued for sexual harassment, retaliation and national origin. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Latino employees. According to the lawsuit, 14 employees who worked as janitors and supervisors were fired because of their national origin, sexual harassment and retaliation. The Hispanic employees also had to listen to derogatory names and comments while they were working.

Additional details of the lawsuit include one Hispanic supervisor who was fired because he would not follow his superiors orders to fire another Hispanic employee for no reason. An employee does not have to follow discriminatory orders from management. It was nice to see this supervisor stand up to management and not follow their allegedly illegal orders. The EEOC also alleges Hispanic male employees were subjected to sexual harassment and when they would not go along with the request for sex, were subjected to retaliation by being fired.

“Employers cannot apply one set of rules to Hispanic workers and another set of rules to non-Hispanic workers, which is what we found occurred here. said EEOC attorney Ann Henry

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Posted On: April 1, 2010

Kane County Illinois Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $75,000

Kane County Illinois will pay $75,000 to Erma Rodriquez who is a former corrections officer to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit. Rodriquez claims she was subjected to sexually suggestive remarks over the course of two years and she reported the harassment to her superiors. She also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and claims to have been the victim of retaliation for making the report. According to the lawsuit Rodriguez received a verbal reprimand after filing her claim with the EEOC.

The final straw for Rodriquez was when she found a phallic-shaped piece of insulation foam that had graphic markings on it. The item was left on her desk and caused her emotional distress. The lawsuit claims the day she found the item and reported it, she became the subject of an internal investigation which she claims was done in retaliation for making the report. It is typical in sexual harassment lawsuits to see the defendant make life difficult for plaintiffs once they come forward and file complaints. This is typical behavior and I am glad to see the defendants pay for what they did wrong.


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