Posted On: April 30, 2011

Timken Company Pays $120,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Timken Company pays $120,000 to settle a gender discrimination and americans with disability act ("ADA") discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of part-time employee Carmen Halloran. According to published accounts the company refused to hire Halloran full-time because managers believed that Halloran, who is the mother of a disabled child, would be unable to work full time and care for her disabled child.

The problem with that logic is Timken employed men who were the fathers of disabled children. It is remarkable that a company would treat an employee this way. Timken failed to hire Halloran into the full-time position based on an unfounded gender stereotype that the mother of a disabled child would necessarily be the primary caregiver for the child and therefore would not be a reliable employee.

“Employers must be careful not to apply stereotypes against women based on perceptions that they must always be the primary caregivers and therefore are unreliable employees.” said EEOC attorney Lynette Barnes

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Posted On: April 29, 2011

Asarco LLC's MIssion Mine Must Pay $868,750 In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Angela Aguilar who is a former worker at Asarco LLC's Mission Mine has been awarded nearly $868,750 in her sexual harassment lawsuit. According to published accounts Asarco did not stop a supervisor from sexually harassing Aguilar even though she made repeated complaints to management. Aguilar's supervisor would regularly ask her for sex and touch her. The supervisor would also make sexual comments to her and drew a sexual picture of her on a bathroom wall--guy sounds creepy.

Because the company refused to stop the sexual harassment Aguilar quit, which is referred to as a constructive discharge. I bet Asarco wishes they took her sexual harassment claim more serious now. You can see how much money this cost a company when they fail to properly train and supervise employeees. This is a good example of bad management. I am very glad Aguilar hung in there and refused to put up with this type of bebavior.


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Posted On: April 28, 2011

Sexual Harassment and Reporting It To Human Resources

My chicago office gets calls all the time regarding sexual harassment and what to do about it. Many times the person calling wants to know if they should report it to the Human Resources Manager or tell someone else. Before we go any further you should realize that in most instances, Human Resources ("HR") is there to help the company not you. They may act like they are concerned but at the end of the day, they will do what is in the best interest of the company. In many cases, sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment for all employees and it should be in the best interest of the company to stop it, but sadly many companies choose to shoot the messenger.

I suggest that before going to HR you get as much evidence as possible together and keep it in a safe place (i.e. not at work). If you think a co-worker witnessed some of the sexual harassment send the co-worker an email and ask about it in a non-intimidating fashion. By getting a response, you are locking the co-worker into a position. If the co-worker later feels threatened by HR and changes his story, you have the saved email to show a different side of the events. I believe it is important to speak with an attorney and have a plan in place before speaking with HR. The company has people looking out for its best interest, so should you.

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Posted On: April 27, 2011

StoneRidge Health and Rehab Center, LLC Pays $22,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

StoneRidge Health and Rehab Center, LLC, pays $22,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a female supervisor. According to published accounts the supervisor filed a complaint of racial discrimination with the company and was fired days later. When a good employee is fired within a short period of time after complaining about discrimination there is always a retaliation charge to follow.

In this case such a short period of time lapsed that it gives the impression that she was only fired because she complained to the company about a racial issue. It is very important to document was is going on at work and to file a complaint internally if you believe you are the victim of discrimination. I am glad the EEOC got involved and this woman would not let the company push her around.

“The number of retaliation lawsuits has risen across the country and within the Memphis District,” said EEOC Attorney Faye A. Williams “People have a right to complain about discrimination in the workplace, and the EEOC is committed to aggressively combating retaliation for it.”

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Posted On: April 25, 2011

Morgan & Morgan Law Firm Sued For Sexual Harassment

Michelle Burman a former employee of the Morgan & Morgan law firm filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in federal court against the firm. Burman filed her claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and then received a right to sue letter. Burman claims she was exposed to sexual comments, sexual jokes, and sexual stories while working for the firm as a client service intake specialist. Burman claims her supervisor was the source of the sexual harassment. Burman also claims her supervisor was often intoxicated and that female employees had to provide sexual favors in order to get ahead at the firm.

Burman alleges when she rebuffed her supervisor's advances he became more and more hostile toward her and he treated her differently from co-workers. If her claims turned out to be true, Burman would have been subjected to a hostile work environment. Burman also alleges that the firm's Human Resources department did not properly investigate claims. The firm is disputing both her claim and that fact that the Human Resources department did not investigate. One of the founders Mr. Morgan said there was a large file regarding Burman and her complaint.

"That's a lie," said Morgan. "The HR department conducted a full investigation. There's a large file."

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Posted On: April 24, 2011

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settles For $79,000

Prestige Home Centers, Inc. pays $79,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of several man. According to published accounts male employees were subjected to sexual harassment from a male supervisor. The sexual harassment included touching, requests for sexual favors and sexual comments.

When the men complained about the sexual harassment the supervisor retaliated. This type of behavior also creates a hostile work environment for all the workers and could lead to additional complaints. In this case, the men would not take the abuse from the supervisor any longer and filed directly with the EEOC. I am glad to see the case resolved in a favorable manner.

“Employees should not be subjected to this type of harassing behavior in the modern workplace,” “Employers must act swiftly to correct hostile work environments and prevent employee exposure to such outrageous conduct and retaliation.”said EEOC Attorney Robert Weisberg.

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Posted On: April 23, 2011

Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $160,000

Ralph Jones Sheet Metal, Inc. pays $160,000 to former African-American employees to settle a racial harassment lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on their behalf. According to published accounts a white supervisor and other employees subjected African-American employees to racially offensive comments. The comments included the use of the N word and other such slurs.

This type of activity creates a hostile work environment for all employees. I am glad these employees decided to contact the EEOC and not let this supervisor get away with what he was doing. I know most people don't think this type of activity still takes place but it does. As you can see by the amount the company had to pay to settle this lawsuit, having a mouthy employee can cost a good deal of money.

“Employees should not have to endure a racially hostile work environment as it is a violation of federal law.” said EEOC attorney Faye Williams

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Posted On: April 22, 2011

Four Latino Workers Receive $150,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Willamette Tree Wholesalers must pay $150,000 to four Latino farm workers to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the four workers. There were further allegations of retaliation because one of the workers was fired along with her husband. In a very rare case, the Judge said that the four were subjected to sexual harassment so extreme that the judge agreed to extend a 300-day statute of limitations to allow the complaint to go forward. Normally, you have 300 days from the date of sexual harassment to file a complaint with the EEOC.

There are other shocking details including allegations that one of the sisters was taken to remote areas of the farm by a supervisor, who allegedly threatened her with pruning shears, termination and bodily harm and then sexually assaulted her repeatedly over a period of several months. The woman would not give in to the sexual demands and was fired. Here is a great article on 20 Ways to lesson your chances of sexual assult.

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Posted On: April 21, 2011

Car Dealership Settles Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $300,000

Auto dealer Ganley Lincoln of Bedford, Inc. pays $300,000 to four African-Americans to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on their behalf. According to published details of the lawsuit, Jay Walsh, Ganley’s general manager routinely used derogatory terms to refer to blacks, including the epithet “n----r.”

In a shocking statement Walsh said about an older African-American employee,that he wished the old n----r ... would hurry up and die. To make matters worse Walsh utilized a compensation system that disadvantaged black salespeople with regard to sales opportunities and commissions. This type of activity ended up costing the company a great deal of money and probably some good employees. Walsh is no longer employed there--big suprise.

“Racial harassment is utterly unacceptable and illegal,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence. “It demeans the entire workplace as well as the direct victims."

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Posted On: April 20, 2011

Deputy Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $900,000

Deputy Robert Lyznick settled his sexual harassment lawsuit with the county that employed him for $900,000. According to published accounts Lyznick claims his supervisor asked him to come into the bathroom for a rectal probe. Additionally Lyznick said his supervisor wanted to get him drunk so Lyznick would perform oral sex on him. In an effort to stop the sexual harassment Lyznick even posted sexual harassment awareness posters around the office, but the harassment continued.

The Supervisor involved was Sgt. Charles Dery and he said some pretty troubling statements, if true. For his part Dery denied he sexually harassed anyone, however he ended up resigning after an internal investigation and the county paid almost a million dollars to settle this case so the facts make a pretty strong statement. This type of activity creates a hostile work environment for the employees. Things got so bad for Lyznick that he bought his wife a weapon and posted pictures of Dery around his house so his family would know if he was around. The following quotes show the mindset of this man.

"If someone rolls over on me, I'll put a bullet in his head," Dery was alleged to have said. "I'll drag him out to the desert and bury him in the desert. The desert is a big place and there are lots of places to hide a body."

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Posted On: April 19, 2011

Lane County Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $82,000

This is a case that should really catch peoples attention because it involves a female Judge--which makes it an unusual sexual harassment case. Former Oregon Justice of the Peace Cynthia Sinclair allegedly sexually harassed Heather Hendrickson while Hendrickson was the court clerk and now Lane County is settling the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Hendrickson for $82,000. It is a shame the county did not take the allegations serious and put a stop to it prior to Hendrickson leaving and suing the county. This is a classic example of what not to do if an employee complains about sexual harassment.

According to published accounts Sinclair resigned last year after a county investigation into a complaint by five employees found she made frequent and unwelcome sexual comments to the women. It is unusual to find female-on-female sexual harassment in the workplace and one involving a judge is even more unusual. Apparently the judge even made sexual type comments in court--whow. If an employee quits her job because of sexual harassment or other types of discrimination it is called a constructive discharge.

County board Chairman Faye Stewart said “I’m hoping this is the end of this and the county and all parties can move on.”

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Posted On: April 18, 2011

Douglas County Settles Religious Discrimination and Sexual Orientation Lawsuit For $145,000

Douglas County pays $145,000 to settle a sexual orientation and religious discrimination lawsuit to Kathy Slater who worked for the county as a records clerk. In her lawsuit Slater alleged she was terminated after she refused to accept domestic partnership declarations and other documents from same-sex couples. Slater asked to be exempted from the duty, based on her religious beliefs saying she was a christian and believed same-sex partners were sinners.

The problem was Douglas County Clerk Barbara Neilson rejected the accommodation, and claimed exempting Slater would impose an undue hardship on clerk’s office staffing and operations. During discovery a memo surfaces that also indicated that Neilson believed the county could be subjected to civil rights lawsuits if she allowed the acoommodation. The Judge did not buy that argument and denied the County's motion for summary judgment and therefore the case was headed for trial. The Judge pointed out that the applications take a very short period of time to process and it was not unrealistic to just call over another clerk to process the applications of same-sex couples.

“So long as the registration is processed in a timely fashion, the registrants have suffered no injury,” Judge Coffin said. “There is no reason to even inform them of Ms. Slater’s religious views or the county’s accommodation of those beliefs.”

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Posted On: April 17, 2011

BET Sued For Sexual Harassment

Tameika Dorman filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the television entity known as Black Entertainment Television ("BET"). According to published reports about the sexual harassment lawsuit Dorman was editing a video session with a BET employee named Derek Clarke. The two were putting together a previously taped segment that Ms. Dorman was hosting and producing. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, Clarke began to repeatedly re-play video footage of her butt while she was dressed in a short skirt and walking up a set of stairs. Dorman claims this was a form of sexual harassment and the basis of her lawsuit.

Dorman asked him why he kept playing the segment of her butt and asked him to stop but he did not. Instead he grabbed his crotch, moaned and said he loved her butt. Dorman complained to management and asked that she not have to work with him in the future. What ended up happening was Dorman got removed from producing a major projected called BET Hip-Hop Honors and was eventually fired. Being fired within such a short period of time of reporting sexual harassment is referred to as retaliation. I am sure this is going to cost BET some money and I will keep readers posted of the outcome.

"Clarke grabbed and repeatedly rubbed his crotch, began to moan and said it was because he loved her butt, that she was sexy and that she did not know what he was going to do to her."

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Posted On: April 16, 2011

Charlene Miles Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With EEOC

Charlene Miles, who is a former county worker filed a sexual harassment lawsuit alleging former county commissioner David Ridley forced her to have oral sex, constantly subjected her to sexual harassment and viewed pornography on her office computer. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on Miles behalf. Ridley resigned from his position shortly after news of the allegations became public.

According to published accounts Miles said that Ridley continuously made sexual advances and remarks to her for more than a year. In probably the most outragous claim Miles said Ridley forced her to give him oral sex at her trailer. Other forms of sexual harassment included Ridley removing his penis from his pants and taking his hand and reaching up her skirt. This type of behavior also created a hostile work environment for Miles.

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Posted On: April 15, 2011

Sam's Club Settles Hostile Work Environment and National Origin Lawsuit For $440,000

Sam’s Club pays $440,000 to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of nine employees. The employees of Mexican descent endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks by a fellow co-worker who is Mexican-American. The nine victims complained about the hostile work environment to management but nothing was done to stop it. In fact the harassment only intensified and led to intimidation.

The comments about the Mexican's included being called wetbacks and references to Mexicans only being good for cleaning the harasser’s home. The person that was making the comments even threatened to report three of the victims to immigration authorities despite their legal status. The person doing the harassing was finally fired by Sam's Club but only after the EEOC filed the lawsuit.

“A work environment that is free of harassment ensures a more productive and vibrant workplace for all.” said EEOC attorney Anna Park

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Posted On: April 14, 2011

Prison Guard Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $75,000

Kimberley Picchiarini-Pallo has been paid $75,000 by Westmoreland County to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against the county prison and its officials. The sexual harassment lawsuit alleged that Pallo was threatened with termination of her job if she did not have sex with her supervisors. In the lawsuit she named the Warden John Walton, Deputy Warden Steve Cmar and Lt. John Hostoffer. It is not unusual to name multiple people in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Pallo claims the jail is nothing more than a place where male officers solicited sex from female officers. Pallo claims that the top officials at the jail knew what was going on and refuse to stop it. The county responded by saying Pallo was insubordinate and unprofessional in her duties as a corrections officer. Of course the $75,000 settlement amount should tell you which side of the story was more accurate. Pallo is no longer working for the county and the reason is because of the sexual harassment complaints so she could claim retaliation if they fired her or constructive discharge if she couldn't take the sexual harassment any longer and quit.

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Posted On: April 13, 2011

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Facts

Sexual harassment seems to be a growing problem for employees. It ends up being a double whamy. First, they are exposed to the sexual harassment and then usually to retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment. Unfortunately, many companies don't seem to spend the time properly training their human resource staff on how best to handle a sexual harassment complaint. I see many employees in my office who have been the victim of conduct that rises to the level of sexual harassment and then they report the conduct to human resources, only to be terminated. There seems to be a sense that if you rock the boat in a company, you get thrown off.

It is very important for employees to seek the advice of an experienced sexual harassment and employment law attorney once they first encounter a problem. The employee must realize that human resources is concerned with the best interest of the company and not necessarily the best interest of the employee. There are strict time limits in place for filing a complaint of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). For sexual harassment the complaint must be filed with the IDHR within 180 days and for the EEOC 300 days. Don't let the companies human resource department drag out an investigation and make you miss those filing dates.

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Posted On: April 12, 2011

Havre Eagles Club Pays $193,502 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

KayCee Groven a former employee of the Havre Eagles Club was awarded $193,502 in hera sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employer. In a published decision, it was revealed that Groven's supervisor, Thomas Farnham, repeatedly sexually harassed her over a period of years, forcing her to leave her job when the sexual harassment became so severe she could no longer tolerate it--which is a constructive discharge.

This was a case where the credibility of the witnesses became the focus. In the end the finder of fact found that Groven was the more credible witness. Specifically the fact finder said that Farnham repeatedly grabbed Groven's breasts, buttocks, and crotch, and made inappropriate sexual comments to her. You can see for yourself how much money this cost the company and why it is very important to properly train your employees. In the future I am sure the company will treat sexual harassment allegations more serious.

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Posted On: April 11, 2011

Carole Pannozzo Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $30,000

Carole Pannozzo filed a sexual harassment complaint against her boss Robert Henry alleging that Henry made sexual comments to her and tried to have a sexual relationship with her. Pannozzo also alleged that when she complained, Henry engaged in retaliation by giving her a bad performance review. That case has now been settled and Pannozzo will received $30,000. Pannozzo held the title of executive director of human resources

The sexual harassment complaint was filed with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities which is similar to the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). This case shows that if you are willing to stand up for your rights and not get pushed around, you can get compensation. Even though the employer is claiming there was no wrongdoing, the settlement amount speaks for itself.

City Attorney Mark T. Anastasi said the settlement was reached to avoid costly litigation and what he called the "vagaries of a jury trial."


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Posted On: April 10, 2011

Illinois Firm Pays $8 Million To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

International Profit Associates ("IPA") which operates as a business-development firm will pay $8 million to 82 female employees as part a settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female workers. This case has been ongoing for ten years and is a good illustration of how long it can take a case filed with the EEOC to reach settlement.

The EEOC claims the company filed motions intentionally to stall the case and drag it out. Sometimes companies take a strategic position that it is better to drag cases out and wear down their opponents. In this case the EEOC hung tough and the workers stuck around and will receive a nice payday. When this type of activity takes place in the workplace, it also creates a hostile work environment for all workers. IPA is located in Buffalo Grove Illinois and according to its' website has over 1500 full-time workers.

“The decree and the fact that sizable checks are going out to the victims of IPA’s discrimination are signal achievements,”said EEOC attorney Diane Smason and she added “It’s going to be a better day for all the women covered by the decree.”

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Posted On: April 9, 2011

Age Discrimination Lawsuit Settles For $467,165

The Minnesota Department of Human Services ("MDHS") pays $467,165 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 29 workers. According to published accounts the 29 workers were denied employer contributions for retiree health and dental insurance because they were older than age 55 at the time that they retired. Once a person reaches the age of 40 they become a member of a protect class due to age.

If older workers are treated in a different manner, it may become age discrimination, like it did in this case. You can see how expensive this type of behavior is for a company or in this case state agency. Like the state didn't have anything better to do with taxpayer dollars. In the future I am sure a new plan will be formulated that is not discriminatory in nature.

“The EEOC litigated and won on the issue of the illegality of this incentive plan.” said EEOC attorneyJohn Hendrickson.

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Posted On: April 8, 2011

Adam Brothers Farms Pays $27,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

It seems like the workers who need the most protection are facing the most difficult working conditions. A recent case involving a vegetable packer illustrates the point. What makes this case even worse is the fact that the female who was the victim of sexual harassment was a teenager. Adam Brothers Farming, Inc. agreed to pay $27,500 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the teenage worker.

According to published accounts a male supervisor began sexually harassing the teen by asking the teenager to perform oral sex, touching her body, brushing his body against her backside, and making lewd gestures. The teenager reported the conduct that was taking place and the sexual harassment to a foreman in an attempt to have it stopped. But in an amazing series of events she was transferred and disciplined, then fired within two weeks of her complaint. This forms the basis of her retaliation claim. It is really shocking that the company acted this way.

“Our nation’s youngest workers can be particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment, particularly in the agricultural industry.” said EEOC attorney Anna Park

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Posted On: April 7, 2011

Trucking Company Pays $32,500 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Family owned trucking company Howard Sheppard, Inc. pays $32,500 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Sarah Waller. The lawsuit alleged Sheppard fired truck driver Waller in retaliation for making a complaint about sexual harassment. If an employee complains about discriminatory conduct and then has a negative job action taken against him or her, it is considered retaliation. In this case the complaint of sexual harassment was the discriminatory conduct and therefore being fired was retaliation.

Sheppard denied any liability or wrongdoing in the lawsuit however, they are paying $32,500 to settle the case. It still amazes me how many companies fire employees who complain about discrimination in the workplace. How hard would it have been to just investigate the sexual harassment complaint and take the appropriate action? Hopefully Sheppard learned a lesson and will do things different in the future.

“By coming forward with her discrimination charge, Ms. Waller’s efforts will go a long way towards preventing future mistreatment of female truck drivers.” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins

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Posted On: April 6, 2011

United States Supreme Court Expands Workplace Protection

The United States Supreme Court recently expanded protections for employees who complain about violations in the workplace. In Thompson v. North American Stainless
the Court held that an employee who was fired because of the actions of a spouse or fiance could file a retaliation claim. In fact he Court said any third party can file a retaliation claim if the third party is being punished because of a claim of discrimination another employee is filing. In this case Eric Thompson was fired because his fiancee Miriam Regalado fired a gender discrimination complaint against North American Stainless where they both worked.

A very short time after Regalado filed her gender discrimination claim Thompson was fired. The Court did not buy the company position that if it allowed Thompson to succeed on his claim it would open the floodgate of complaints against employers. This is a very important case because it allows other employees to file claims of retaliation if a negative job action is taken against them for supporting another employees claim of discrimination.

The Court said "it was obvious that a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew that her fiance would be fired."

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Posted On: April 6, 2011

Software Support Company Settles National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit For $60,000

Integrated Broadband Services pays $60,000 to settle a national origin discrimination and racial discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a black female Tanzanian network analyst who was fired for leaving work 30 minutes early. To show discrimination the EEOC pointed out that a similarly situated white network analyst received only written discipline after leaving work two hours early and the white worker did it twice in one week.

Many times national origin discrimination can also include discrimination based on ancestry or citizenship status. Both of those categories go unreported many times but they are viable forms of discrimination. Along with the settlement amount the company agreed to terms that include additional training on discrimination and posting anti-discrimination notices.

“The EEOC filed this lawsuit because the difference in treatment between these employees was clear, and a woman lost her livelihood due to this discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins

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Posted On: April 5, 2011

Jackson Public Schools Settles Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit

Jackson Public Schools settled a federal lawsuit that was based on allegations that former security chief John Coleman creating a hostile work environment. The person making the claim was Debra Robinson who was the former office manager for Coleman's department.
Robinson initially accused Coleman of creating a hostile work environment based on sexual comments even though he was not engaged in sexual harassment with her. Robinson also accused him of gender discrimination and retaliation, but those claims were dismissed for lack of evidence.

In cases like this, the hostile work environment is created because of some other discriminatory conduct. In this case the conduct was sexual comments directed at other female workers. The amount of the settlement is confidential at this time but because it involves a public entity I am sure it will be released in the future. I am glad that Robinson stuck to her guns and did not let the school disctrict get away with the discrimination that took place.

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Posted On: April 4, 2011

Murphy Healthcare III, LLC Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $30,000

There has been a rise in the number of pregnancy discrimination lawsuits my office is seeing. It seems like I am getting calls every day about women having adverse job actions taken against them at work once it becomes known they are pregnant. Here is a recent case that I wasn't involved with but it is interesting and illustrates my point. Murphy Healthcare III, LLC. agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Myesha Kerr.

Published accounts indicate that Kerr was fired after her supervisor learned that she was pregnant. Kerr worked as a housekeeper for the company and during discovery in the case the supervisor said he never would have hired Kerr had he known of her pregnancy, because he believed Kerr might injure herself by working. Sorry to break the news to you Mr. Supervisor but that is illegal and will cost the company you work for money every time you do it.

"The result of the employer’s actions in this case was to deprive a working mother of an income.” said EEOC atttorney Meaghan Shepard


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Posted On: April 3, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Settled For $25,000

The city of Attleboro paid $25,000 to settle a hostile work environment and racial discrimination lawsuit with Vincent Bailey, an African-American firefighter. Because of the allegations against the city and specifically against the supervising officer, Bailey will not have to report to him in the future. The Sun Chronicle reports there is a gag order in affect and neither side is commenting, however a freedom of information request did get some information. The case was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD") which is similar to the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"), and the federal counterpart the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

According to reports in the Sun Chronicle, allegations include supervisor Perkins making racially based derogatory comments, such as:

"Vinny, while you're here, why don't you shine my shoes?"

These types of comments are not acceptable in the workplace and I am glad to see Mr. Bailey hold the city accountable. There were also five witnesses to the comments so it wasn't just a case of one person's word against anothers. This type of behavior not only makes work difficult for the person who is the target of the comments but it creates a hostile work environment for the other employees. You can imagine how uncomfortable it makes everyone at work.

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Posted On: April 2, 2011

College Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $20,000

Arkansas Baptist College ("ABC") pays $20,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Mary Jarrett. According to details which have become public, Jarrett was retaliated against because she previously filed a discrimination claim against the college and the college canceled her contract based on the former complaint. Her previous discrimination complaint involved age discrimination and gender discrimination among others.

My chicago office is seeing an increase in the number of college and university related claims of discrimination. I don't know if it is the arrogance of college administrators or the fact that the job market is so tight right now that people think they can engage in discrimination against workers. I am glad to see Mary Jarrett stick to her guns and not let the college push her around. There are protections available to people who file discrimination charges and hopefully the college learned a lesson on how to treat employees.

“It is plainly illegal to fire an employee for engaging in her statutorily protected right of filing a charge with the EEOC, and we are pleased that the parties were able to resolve this matter.” said EEOC attorney Faye A. Williams

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Posted On: April 1, 2011

Jury Awards $451,000 In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Kerrry Woods is a happy man today because a jury awarded him $451,000 for his sexual harassment lawsuit against Boh Bros. Construction Co. The iron worker first filed his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to documents and statements produced during the lawsuit the superintendent flashed him and routinely taunted him about seeming feminine. Most of the time sexual harassment lawsuits involve male-female or female-male harassment, but in this instance the sexual harassment was male-on-male.

Woods first filed an internal sexual harassment and hostile work environment complaint with the company. The company did not take the complaint seriously and after receiving his complaint, the company engaged in retaliation according to Woods. He claims the company transferred him to its another facility where he earned less and had a longer commute. The company laid him off a short time later. As is typical in these types of cases the company said they laid Woods off for business reasons--but the jury wasn't buying it.

Woods said "I knew it wasn't right that the company should be able to treat people this way," "No one should have to put up with that kind of abuse day after day."

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