Posted On: October 28, 2010

Rally's Hamburgers Settles Teenage Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $150,000

Rally's Hamburger's will pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published reports at least one former Rally's Hamburger's manager violated federal law by sexually harassing teenage females. The manager subjected teenage female employees to unwelcome sexual comments, advances and groping. The manager did not stop there, according to published accounts the manager also assaulted one teenage female.

This type of activity creates a hostile work environment and makes working tough for all employees. When there are female teenage workers and older male supervisors, the owners of the company must take extra steps to ensure there is not sexual harassment going on. Because the teenage workers are not experienced, they may be more apt to not report the sexual harassment or to go along with it.

Posted On: October 27, 2010

Cost Of Defending A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

This case is a prime example of how much it could cost to defend a sexual harassment lawsuit. The city of Dallas spent nearly $1.4 million in legal fees defending itself in three sexual harassment lawsuits filed by four women against Dallas Fire-Rescue. The real interesting fact is that the women received a good deal less than $1.4 million. So the most obvious question is why not settle the lawsuits quickly and save the taxpayers money? Two of the females Cheryl HIll and Sherrir Lopez received a total of $225,000. A third employee Helen Watts settled her sexual harassment lawsuit for $30,000 and the fourth litigant Leanne Siri-Edwards case is still pending.

I believe it is a bad business decision to spend more money on legal fees than it cost to settle the cases. Basically, the city spent $1.4 million to defend claims that were settled for a total of $255,000. I don't know many successful business people who would run their business in that fashion. As an example of the type of sexual harassment the woman endured Ms. Hill found fluid in her coffee cup. Testing on the cup later confirmed that the fluid was semen. Hill said that although a male employee was later placed on paid leave after admitting to being the perpetrator, she was the victim of retaliation by her supervisors for filing the grievance.

Posted On: October 26, 2010

Calista CEO Matthew Nicolai Sued For Sexual Harassment

Former Calista CEO Matthew Nicolai is being sued for sexual harassment. The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by employee Emily Davenport and alleges Nicolai stalked her and used his position to professionally harm her after she broke off their year-long relationship in 2009. Davenport held a high ranking position and was the former president of Calista subsidiary Solstice Advertising. According to published accounts she was put on leave a week after she complained about the sexual harassment and then fired. Being fired for reporting sexual harassment is retaliation and it is illegal if proven.

Davenport said the company fired her under false pretenses, citing lackluster job performance. She also alleged that other members of Calista management were aware of Nicolai's relationship with her and that she broke it off. This type of activity creates a hostile work environment and is also part of the lawsuit. The fact that the company fired Nicolai shows the board must feel Nicolai was doing something wrong.


Posted On: October 25, 2010

County Auditor Sued For Sexual Harassment

Leanna Fannon, a Platte County worker is suing the county auditor for sexual harassment,creating a hostile work environment and retaliation. Fannon worked in the county’s human resources office for fourteen years and currently works as a payroll specialist. According to published accounts she claims Auditor Siobhann K. Williams, a female, began making unwanted sexual advances toward her three years ago. The sexual harassment included comments about Fannon’s clothing and appearance. Additionally Williams at one point sent her flowers.

Fannon rejected the advances and told Williams she was married. For his part Williams is denying the claims. The claim of retaliation is based on the fact that Williams questioned Fannon's job performance and the Platte County Commission demoted Fannon. This type of activity creates a hostile work environment and resulted in the County Commission getting named in the lawsuit as well as Williams. Williams is also up for re-election.

“The allegations she is making are absolutely untrue and I am not a lesbian,” Williams said. “The timing is interesting because it is two weeks before I am up for re-election.”


Posted On: October 23, 2010

Sony Settles Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuit For $20,000

Charles Morgan IV, will receive $20,000 from Sony Music Holdings Inc to settle a sexual harassment and sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit. Morgan worked at the compact disc and digital media manufacturing facility for about 1.5 years and filed his lawsuit alleging he had been the target of comments from co-workers because he is homosexual. This type of discrimination is called discrimination based on sexual orientation.

According to published accounts of the lawsuit Morgan alleged co-workers made offensive comments about his sexual preference on more than one occasion and he was the subject of graffiti written on machinery and a men's room wall. Morgan alleged he was denied a promotion from his part-time status to full-time as a result of retaliation from his employer for making a complaint over discriminatory treatment. Morgan also claims all of these actions resulted in the creation of a hostile work environment.

A short time later Morgan claimed a co-worker told him "you're too gay to sit here."
Posted On: October 21, 2010

McDonald's Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $50,000

McDonald’s pays $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to details that are published, McDonald’s unlawfully subjected an employee to sexual harassment. The details include an assistant store manager making lewd comments to a teenaged crew member and that he touched, spanked and hugged him in a way that made him very uncomfortable. The employee was only 16-17 years of age at the time.

This type of activity creates a hostile work environment and is illegal. I am glad the EEOC held McDonald's accountable for the actions of its management team. At fast food restaurants, many employees are young and may seem easy to take advantage of. McDonalds needs to put better protections in place so this doesn't happen in the future.

Adela Santos, the EEOC trial attorney assigned to the case, added, “We are very pleased that McDonald’s agreed to settle this case without protracted litigation and that it is taking steps to prevent future workplace discrimination."
Posted On: October 20, 2010

Austin Foam Plastics Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $600,000

Austin Foam Plastics pays $600,000 to settle a racial discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment and retaliation lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Austin Foam subjected African-American employees to a racially hostile work environment, subjecting two male employees to a sexual harassment and fired one employee for opposing and reporting the discrimination and harassment.

The pubished accounts allege the harassment included black employees being routinely subjected to discriminatory intimidation, racially offensive comments, insults, cartoons and jokes. A female manager sexually harassed male employees by subjecting them to unwelcome sexual comments and unsolicited physical contact of a sexual nature. She also offered more favorable terms of employment to those males who went along with her sexual harassment and punished those that didn't.

“The law requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent and to correct racial and sexual harassment,” said David Rivela, EEOC attorney.
Posted On: October 19, 2010

Planet Ford Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $160,000

Planet Ford pays $160,000 to settle a sexual harassment, age discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Published accounts claims that one employee was subjected to race discrimination by his supervisor and was retaliated against for complaining about the supervisor’s discriminatory conduct. Another employee was subjected to sexual harassment by the supervisor. The sexual harassment included comments of a sexual nature and taunts by the supervisor that the original complainant, who is heterosexual, was engaging in homosexual activities.

The supervisor also repeatedly berated the employee for being too old for the job and washed up in the industry. The supervisor repeatedly sabotaged the employees work efforts. Both employees complained to management but nothing was done by Planet Ford to put a stop to the conduct. In the end one employee transferred and one quit. This is considered retaliation by Planet Ford because they did nothing to stop the discrimination and forced the complaining employees into other positions as a result of their complaints.

“This settlement demonstrates that harsh treatment against workers because of their age and/or race, whether they are white or members of other races, will be aggressively opposed by the EEOC,” said EEOC Attorney Jim Sacher.

Posted On: October 18, 2010

Forrest City Grocery Sued For Gender Discrimination

Forrest City Grocery Company is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for gender discrimination for not promoting a female worker, Amanda McMillan because of her gender. McMillan worked as a clerical employee then applied to an outside salesperson position but was denied solely because of her gender. Additionally, the company refused to pay her what it paid male employees performing comparable duties.

In cases like this, it is easy to determine the facts as far as pay is concerned. One only need to review the checks of the males and Amanda McMillan and they were either paid more than her or they weren't. This type of discrimination can lead to a hostile work environment.

“Remarkably, some employers still believe women should be excluded from certain types of work simply because of their gender,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, EEOC attorney. “This is not just bad business, it is illegal.”
Posted On: October 17, 2010

Hostile Work Environment In Illinois

My office gets many calls from employees who believe they are working in a hostile work environment and need advice. In Illinois the hostile work environment needs to be based on a protected category. Another words if the boss is just a jerk or a loud mouth and isn't discriminating based on a protected category, there is no protection. On the other hand if you are the victim of sexual harassment, or being discriminated against based on race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, marital status, veteran status, or citizen status, and you believe a hostile work environment exists as a result, you have protection.

The important things to do are first follow your company policy on reporting discrimination which will include reporting it to human resources or other management. Second, cooperate with any investigation. Third, speak with an attorney to make sure your rights are protected. Depending on what the company does will affect your next steps. In all cases however make sure you continue to come to work on time, be a good employee and do your job. Don't give the company a legitimate reason to fire you.

Posted On: October 16, 2010

Former Human Resource Manager Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $600,000

Debbie McPherson, human resource manager for the County settled her sexual harassment lawsuit for $600,000. According to the lawsuit she claimed top officials knew or should have known about sexual harassment directed toward her that was occuring in the Planning Department. The sexual harassment included the deputy director who sent pornography from his work computer and bragged about his supply of a sexual-performance drug.

Once McPherson came forward with her complaint, she was laid off from her $101,000-a-year position. Prior to being laid off and in what she believes was retaliation for complaining , her entire staff was moved to another floor, then reassigned. This type of behavior is usually not coincidence. In her lawsuit she claimed the formation of a hostile work environment and this type of settlement shows the other side agreed.

McPherson is now working in a similar job in Las Vegas.

"I have a marvelous job to go to. I can put this behind me. I couldn't be more delighted," McPherson.
Posted On: October 15, 2010

Apple Granted Patent On Sexting--New Development In Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

Apple is showing once again why it is the innovation leader in technology. Apple was just granted a patent that would enforce parental controls on texting and sexting. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") issued Apple patent 7,814,163, which covers "systems, devices, and methods" that allow a user to determine what kind of text-messaging content can be sent or received from a given device. This patent may play a vital role in sexual harassment lawsuit. The patent and related software would allow users to select that messages be blocked entirely or the forbidden content (sexual content) will be removed from the message prior to transmission or as part of the receiving process. This will be accomplished through software that will allow the user to make these selections.

Of course in the workplace, the company issuing the mobile devices can make the selection for its' users. The software seems to be rather sophisticated in that it allows a ratings criteria or a user's age or grade level to determine what kind of words and content will be allowed in text messages, and what will not. Here is the part that may make it a nightmare for employers. Whenever a text message contains inappropriate content, the software alerts the user, the administrator, or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. Talk about putting the pressure on Human Resources.

Continue reading " Apple Granted Patent On Sexting--New Development In Sexual Harassment Lawsuits " »

Posted On: October 14, 2010

Strip Club Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $95,000

A strip club called Papermoon will pay $95,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Papermoon subjected two black doormen to racial harassment, segregation, and differing terms and conditions of employment. The company also engaged in retaliation against white employees who complained about the treatment they witnessed.

Managers at the Papermoon referred to black employees using offensive racial slurs, forced black employees to work in the back of the club instead of at the club entrance, and complained that “black music makes the club look bad.” Additionally company managers did not stop the harassment, but instead either forced out or fired white employees who opposed the abusive conduct. This type of behavior is not tolerated and is illegal. As you can see this type of activity cost the club almost $100,000.

“It is important for employers to recognize that this type of racial discrimination has no place in the modern workplace,” said EEOC Attorney Robert Weisberg. “Employers must treat employees of all races with dignity.”
Posted On: October 12, 2010

Taxi Driver Applicant Settles ADA Claim For $30,000

Vegas Western Cab Company pays $30,000 to a disabled job applicant to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to documents published in the case. Western Cab refused to hire Joel Walden, a single-arm amputee who applied for a taxi driver position. Walden was rejected although he met all of the requirements stated in the job announcement, had experience as a driver and an unblemished driving record. This type of conduct by the company is illegal and not very kind. I am glad to see Mr. Walden stand up and fight the company and assert his rights.

People with disabilities are some of the most vulnerable people in society and we need to work extra hard to protect them from the abuses of employers. Organizations like the EEOC along with plaintiffs attorneys like myself are working hard to fight for the justice and equality of disabled Americans. If you believe you are being discriminated against, please seek help and don't let the companies get away with this type of behavior.

“In this case, the applicant was ready, willing and able to do the work,” said Anna Y. Park, EEOC attorney. “When evaluating a disabled job applicant, the sole consideration should be whether the applicant can do the job."
Posted On: October 11, 2010

Prologix Distribution Services Pays $162,400 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Prologix Distribution Services pays $162,400 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published reports, several women who worked as magazine order fillers were subjected to sexual harassment by a longtime supervisor. The sexual harassment included sexually explicit remarks and inappropriate touching. You can see how much this type of behavior cost the company.

In instances where many women are coming forward with the same complaint it usually looks bad for the person being accused. Of course, there are many facts that will ultimately determine whether or not there was actually sexual harassment. In this case, the settlement amount would indicate the company believed there was damaging evidence.

EEOC attorney Kaleb Kasperson said, “Inappropriate touching and lewd comments are perfect examples of conduct which has no place at work. The law requires that the workplace be free from this type of blatant harassment and sexual innuendo.”
Posted On: October 10, 2010

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $35,000

Better Family Life pays $35,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the pregnant woman. According to published accounts of the lawsuit, a company representative telephoned a former employee to offer her a job as an employment lead trainer. The woman was well qualified for the postion and was ready to accept employment. However while on the telephone the former employee told the representative that she was pregnant. The representative called back a few days later to rescind the job offer because of the former employee’s pregnancy. This is a clear violation of the law and resulted in the settlement.

“All employers, for-profit and non-profit companies alike, must comply with federal anti-discrimination statutes, including the law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.” said Barbara A. Seely, EEOC attorney.
Posted On: October 7, 2010

Concrete Company Pays $325,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Concrete company Bardon, Inc. pays $325,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Bardon created and maintained a hostile work environment for Ora L. Borrell -- the only female quality control technician employed at the company.

The sexual harassment included repeated public urination in her presence, overt and explicit sexual comments and requests, touching and grabbing against her will and other sexually offensive conduct while on the job. This type of activity at work is against the law and will cost a company money each and every time. Borrell’s managers were aware of the sexual harassment because they witnessed some incidents. Borrell was subsequently fired by the company’s human resources department in retaliation for opposing these discriminatory practices.

“Sexual harassment continues to be a persistent problem 45 years after the enactment of Title VII, which prohibits gender discrimination in employment,” said EEOC Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
Posted On: October 6, 2010

Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Because Of Race-Based Preferences

The United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit issued a ruling regarding what constitutes a hostile work environment. In Chaney v. Plainfield Healtcare Center, the 7th Circuit ruled a nursing home which had a policy of honoring a patient's racial preferences is not required to do so by law and therefore can be sued for creating a hostile work enivornment for it's workers. It is crazy that in this point in our country's history we still have companies and people who are acting like it's 1700. You would think people have evolved to the point where they don't have to discriminate like this.

The problem started when black nursing assistant Brenda Chaney did not help a patient because the patient did not want any black people helping her. Chaney claimed that the healthcare center rules on racial preferences caused her to become depressed. Chaney sued the healthcare center but the district court dismissed the case after granting summary judgment in favor of the healthcare center. The 7th Circuit reinstated the lawsuit and my guess is the parties will now settle. Aside from creating a hostile work environment, the company probably engaged in racial discrimination from the behavior as well.

"The policy puts Plaintfield at risk of violating duties of medical care that it owes its residents" Judge Ann Claire Williams said.

Continue reading " Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Because Of Race-Based Preferences " »

Posted On: October 5, 2010

Magazine Distributor Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $162,400

Prologix Distribution Services a magazine distributor, pays $162,400 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of several female employees. According to published accounts the women worked as magazine order fillers and were subjected to sexual harassment by a longtime supervisor.

The sexual harassment included the making of sexually explicit remarks and inappropriate touching and groping of the women. This type of sexual harassment is the most common and I am glad to see the women take a stand and not let the company or the supervisor get away with it.

“No one should be subjected to this type of harassing conduct in the modern workplace,” said EEOC Attorney Robert Weisberg. “Employers must take appropriate steps to assure that this kind of abuse does not occur.”
Posted On: October 3, 2010

Williams Sausage Sued For Hostile Work Environment and Racial Discrimination

Williams Sausage sued for racial discrimination by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of an African-American maintenance worker who was paid less than others. The EEOC also alleged that Williams Sausage subjected him to a hostile work environment because of the discriminatory acts and this led to him quitting. What an employer forces an employee out of a job it is referred to as a constructive discharge.

According to published documnets, Williams Sausage gave raises and paid higher salaries to all maintenance department employees except the department’s lone African-American employee and allowed a supervisor to regularly use racially offensive language toward the employee because of racial animus. It is hard to believe that this type of behavior still exists but sadly it does. It takes vigilence and hard work to ferret out these types of companies and to protect the rights of all employees.

“Sadly, race discrimination continues to exist in the workplace where workers are paid less and subjected to harassment. Addressing such conduct remains a priority for the Commission,” said Katharine W. Kores, EEOC attorney.

Continue reading " Williams Sausage Sued For Hostile Work Environment and Racial Discrimination " »

Posted On: October 2, 2010

Veterinary Clinic Sued For Sexual Harassment By EEOC

East Hawaii Veterinary Center a veterinary clinic is being sued for sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC on behalf of at least six female employees, ranging from receptionists to a veterinarian, who were subjected to extremely offensive, vulgar comments geared solely toward female staff by a co-owner of the clinic. The male staff members were not subjected to any of this type of behavior.

On a near-daily basis, the co-owner insulted the women by calling them “worthless,” “whores” and other extremely vulgar epithets, and generally treated the women differently. When one of the females complained about what was going on, a different co-owner took no action to stop it and fired at least three of the females which is retaliation. Others were forced to quit and this is referred to as a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge takes place when the company takes steps to make work so miserable for a worker that the worker is forced to quit. This type of behavior by professionals is remarkable and will end up costing them money.

“Supervisors and top managers have a higher duty to ensure a workplace free of hostility,” said Anna Y. Park, EEOC attorney “Women have the right to work without the utter degradation displayed here, and the EEOC will fight to ensure that employers pay for such injustices.”
Posted On: October 1, 2010

Human Resource Manager Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $600,000

Former human-resources manager Debbie McPherson who alleged sexual harassment by male managers in the Planning Department settled for lawsuit for around $600,000. McPherson, a 27-year county employee, filed her lawsuit alleging top officials knew or should have known about misconduct in the Planning Department, including a deputy director who sent pornography from his work computer and bragged about his supply of a sexual-performance drug. McPherson was making $101,000 per year and was laid off shortly after complaining to upper management about sexual harassment in the office.

After being laid off McPherson was only able to find a job paying half of what she was earning at the County. The lawsuit not only alleged sexual harassment but also the creation of a hostile work environment. The details of this case really get weird. Then Planning Director Craig Ladiser allegedly exposed himself on a golf course to a female and he wasn't fired. McPherson claims this shows how the County feels about Ladiser and how they treat women.

"I have a marvelous job to go to. I can put this behind me. I couldn't be more delighted," McPherson said.