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Posted On: July 31, 2012

Huntington Ingalls, Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $80,000

Huntington Ingalls, Inc. pays $80,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts, the company fired Walter Strickland and Brian Glover after they provided written statements about another employee who was engaging in discriminatory conduct. Another words, they were being good employees and just speaking the truth.

When there is a hostile work environment at work and employees try to rectify the problem by reporting the conduct to management they are protected. In this case that is exactly what took place. These two employees were just doing what they were suppose to do. The company tried to silence those that came forward, which is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the end the company probably lost two good employees and had to pay a good amount of money.

“An employee’s ability to report conduct believed to be discriminatory without fear of reprisal is fundamental to creating workplaces free of discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes
Posted On: July 30, 2012

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Settles For $94,000

Belmont Village, L.P. and Belmont Village at Buckhead Senior Living, LLC, pays $94,000 to two former employees to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the two females. According to published accounts, assistant chef Joann Johnson and personal care aide Marcia Thomas, informed their supervisors that they were pregnan and they were immediately written up for alleged job performance issues.

And then both women were fired. Talk about not even trying to hide the fact that they were enganging in discriminatory conduct. The company was so blatant about it that it boggles the mind. In this case the company was wise to settle for the amount they did as the facts were overwhelming. You can see how much it can cost a company when they engage in discrimination against employees.

“The EEOC filed this suit based on evidence that pregnancy factored into the decisions to dis­charge the victims in this case,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
Posted On: July 29, 2012

Retaliation By Employer In Chicago For Not Going Out With The Boss

You are at work doing a great job and the boss keeps asking you out. He is constantly at your desk and spends way too much time in your business. He is married and you know he only wants one thing--sex. This by itself is sexual harassment and you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and they will cross-file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). But there is more. What is going to happen in most cases is the boss is going to want to get rid of you. That's right. He is going to try and get you fired. Why you say? Because you aren't going to sleep with him and he is afraid you will spill the beans about him at work.

Additionally, he wants to hire someone else who may speak with him. The boss making up reasons to fire you is called retaliation. It is retaliation because you are rejecting the sexual advances. If you don't file with the IDHR you will run the risk of missing the window for filing. It is very important that you protect your rights and don't delay. My Chicago office sees this all the time. People wait too long and they can't protect themselves. Call an employment lawyer and learn your employment rights.

Posted On: July 28, 2012

Chicago Sexual Harassment Federal Lawsuits

So you are in Chicago and your boss is engaging in sexual harassment. He keeps asking you out on dates and sends you inappropriate text messages. You are afraid to confront him because he is your boss. You also don't want to tell human resources because your boss has been there for 30 years and you are new. So what should you do? You seem to have a real problem. And none of this is your fault. You are a good worker and are always on time. You get along with co-workers and go the extra mile all the time. So what should be your next move?

Well you should call a good employment lawyer and explain the situation to him. Because the sexual harassment is being done by your boss, there is strict liability on the boss and the company. So after you talk to me then what? Well if we file a complaint of sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") we can then ask for a right to sue letter. The right to sue letter allows us to file a complaint directly in federal court. Now in cases where the conduct is embarrassing to the boss and company they are not going to want a federal court case. There are many reasons for this including the fact that the local newspaper will probably pick up the story and print it. Remember federal court cases are open to the public and most newspapers have local reporters who cover the courthouse as part of their job.

Continue reading " Chicago Sexual Harassment Federal Lawsuits " »

Posted On: July 27, 2012

Kids R Us, LLC Pays $75,000 To Settle A Retaliation Lawsuit

Kids R Us, LLC, pays $75,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Shawna Capps. According to documents which have been made public, Capps was hired in July 2009 and told her manager she was pregnant in early March 2010. Under the law you cannot make any negative employment actions against an employee just because they are pregnant. A very short time after Capps told management she was pregnant she was demoted, but not because of job performance issues. This would be the basis for the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit.

Capps then filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC against the company. A very short time later the company transferred her to a new location that was much further away. This was done to force her to quit. As if that weren't bad enough, her cousin and sister also worked for the company and they were fired for no reason. It was obvious that this was all done because she filed a pregnancy discrimination case against the company. When this type of discriminatory activity takes place you should contact a veteran employment attorney to protect your rights.

"Pregnancy does not equal inability to work, and no employee should be punished for complaining about illegal treatment of a coworker; or worse yet, simply being related to or closely associated with a coworker who complains,” said EEOC attorney Patrick J. Holman.
Posted On: July 25, 2012

Sexual Harassment By A Former Supervisor

So you are in Chicago and your supervisor is engaging in sexual harassment. You can't really say anything because you are afraid you are going to be punished if you do. The legal term is called retaliation. So in this case you would have a cause of action against the company because the supervisor engaging in sexual harassment transfers liability onto the company. However, what happens if the supervisor gets a promotion and still harasses you? Is there strict liability on the company at this point? The answer is yes. You should immediately call a good employment attorney and take the next step.

The next step would be to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and as long as the new harassment is within 180 days you can go as far back as you want because it is continuing harassment. Also the IDHR will cross-file the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and this keeps your federal options open. It is very important to have proof and to save text messages and emails as your case will live or die based on this. You have to remember that the supervisor is probably going to claim you are just friends and he is being nice and not harassing you. This is where his own words on the text messages and emails will come back to haunt him. Remember, you don't have to be the victim of predators at work. You have legal rights.

Posted On: July 24, 2012

Healthcare Company Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $193,236

Hawaii Healthcare Professionals, Inc.pay $193,236 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit. The age discrimination lawsuit was the result of the company firing the woman due to her age. The case was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Under the law if you are 40 or over you are a member of a protected class and cannot be treated different than younger workers.

In this case Carolyn Frutoz-De Harne, ordered the 2008 termination of Debra Moreno, a then-54-year-old office coordinator. The termination proceeded despite reports by the facility’s manager, who actually hired and supervised Moreno, that Moreno was a thorough and efficient worker. Another words, she was doing her job and there was no legitimate business reason for firing her. The real reason for the firing was Moreno's age. Here is the proof, Frutoz-De Harne allegedly ordered that Moreno be fired after telling the manager that Moreno “looks old,” “sounds old on the telephone,” and is “like a bag of bones.” That is terrible that a person in authority would speak about an employee in that manner.

“When I learned that my age was the reason for the disparaging remarks and termination, I was embarrassed and demoralized. For me, it was the ultimate blow. Age had never before been a consideration for me,” said Moreno.
Posted On: July 23, 2012

Endoscopic Microsurgery Associates Pays $350,000 In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Endoscopic Microsurgery Associates pays $350,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to three former employees who were subjected to sexual harassment by the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer. Whow can you believe people in this high a position were doing this to employees? Well apparently they were. The sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). These types of large amounts are rare but seem to be occuring more often. These types of cases also takes years before they get to trial.

According to published accounts receptionist Linda Luz was repeatedly subjected to unwanted sexual advances and a sexually hostile work environment by CEO Dr. Mark Noar and CFO Martin Virga. I bet these two are looking for new jobs. It always amazes me that people this high up can act so stupid. After Luz repeatedly rejected the advances, the company began retaliating against her by issuing to her unwarranted discipline and rescinding approved leave, which eventually culminated in her retaliatory termination. This also happened to two other women who worked for the company. Study coordinator Jacqueline Huskins similarly experienced unwanted sexual advances from Noar and Virga, as did nurse Kimberly Hutchinson.

“This verdict is significant because it reminds high-level officials who function as the employer that their high level does not give them license to abuse women – they must treat employees as professionals,” said EEOC attorney Debra Lawrence.
Posted On: July 20, 2012

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Pays $20,000 To Settle EEOC Lawsuit

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company pays $20,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed under the American's With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Alisha Adams applied for the position of tire builder and received a conditional offer of employment. This usually means you have the job as long as you pass a drug test and background check. However that isn't what happened here.

During Goodyear’s post-offer medical examination, Adams disclosed that she had menorrhagia, a bleeding disorder associated with her menstrual cycle. As a result of this disclosure, Goodyear required Adams to obtain medical clearances from two separate physicians who medically cleared her to work. This by itself would seem extreme and a violation of the ADA. But there is more. She started working for Goodyear but three weeks later, Adams told her supervisor that she had a bleeding disorder and was fired as a result.

“The EEOC is committed to fighting discrimination in the workplace. Employers must be careful not to make assumptions about an individual based on his or her disability.” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes
Posted On: July 19, 2012

McDonalds Franchisee Pays $1,000,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Missoula Mac, Inc., the owner and franchisee of 25 McDonald’s restaurants pays $1,000,000 to settle a class sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of females workers. According to published accounts male employees created a hostile work environment of sexual harassment against female co-workers, some of whom were teenagers. Whow it is really bad when they start to engage in sexual harassment against teenagers. And to make matters worse the company engaged in retaliation against those who complained about sexual harassment.

To show you how long these cases can take this case started in 2006. During that time everal male employees subjected female co-workers to sexual harassment. The sexual harassment included comments, kissing, touching of their private areas, and forcing their hands onto the men’s private parts. I guess they were making more than happy meals at this restaurant. The company did nothint to stop the harassment and forced at least one employee to quit--which is referred to as a constructive discharge. You can see how much money sexual harassment cases can cost if you try and sweep them under the rug.

“This is a sad case, demonstrating again that sexual harassment is still a challenge for women at some of our most successful, best known brands.” said EEOC attorney John P. Rowe
Posted On: July 18, 2012

Is A Senior Executive Asking To Take Me On A Overnight Trip Sexual Harassment?

So you are a low level employee and you don't usually travel out of state. In fact you never travel except for training. Recently a senior level executive has been talking with you and texting you and now wants you to come on an overnight business trip. Is this a red flag that something is amiss? The answer is probably yes. If you don't have a legitimate reason to be traveling and if you never travel with senior executives the reason could be sexual. Is this sexual harassment in Illinois? Well it could be. One would have to look at all of the facts and determine based on that what if anything you could do.

So if the text messages are personal and not very business related that would be an indication that something is going on. Also, if the calls and text messages are on personal matters and are late at night and not during business hours this would be an indication. Also, if the job you hold has nothing to do with traveling with the executive that would raise a red flag also. So if you took the totality of the evidence in this situation, you would probably have a case that could rise to sexual harassment. And if you refuse to take the trip and something negative happens to you at work--now you really have a case.

Posted On: July 17, 2012

Is A Boss Texting You Sexual Messages A Hostile Work Environment In Chicago?

So you are working hard as a secretary and your boss starts sending you sexual text messages on your cell phone. What should you do and is this illegal in Illinois? Well the short answer is you should contact a good employment lawyer who can protect your rights. And this this would create a hostile work environment for you and would subject you to sexual harassment in Chicago and throughout Illinois. It is very important that you realize if the boss is doing the sexual harassment there is strict liability attached to the company. Another words the company is 100% liable for the sexual harassment.

It is very important that you save the text messages and make sure your attorney gets them. This will become the proof of the sexual harassment. If you don't save the messages they may still be retrieved using special software however there is a chance the messages won't be able to be retrieved. Another words, without the messages you won't have a case because the boss probably will not admit to sending them. This is why you need to speak with an experienced employment law attorney at once. My Chicago offices handles cases like this all the time.

Posted On: July 16, 2012

Chicago Constructive Discharge Lawsuits

So the work atmosphere at your Chicago workplace isn't what you bargained for. The boss keeps making comments that make it clear he doesn't like female workers. The men get all the best job assignments and his negative comments toward females doesn't stop. You report this to human resources and nothing happens. What are your legal options and what should you do? Well if it gets to the point that you can no longer go into work because of the actions of your boss, you could quit. In Illinois this is called a constructive discharge. For the purposes of employment a constructive discharge is treated as a termination. If you do quit, file for unemployment and let the government make the determination as to whether you can collect or not.

After you quit, contact a good employment lawyer and file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR is tasked with investigating complaints of discrimination. Once you file with the IDHR, and they investigate the complaint and upon a finding of substantial evidence you can file with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") for trial in front of an administrative law judge. The IHRC is where you can be awarded money for lost wages, emotional distress and attorney fees. It is important that you keep track of your lost wages and places you look for work. The important point is to protect your rights and not let the company get away with the discriminatory conduct.

Posted On: July 14, 2012

Illinois Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits

So you are gay and feel that your manager is treating you different based on your sexual orientation. What if anything can you do? Well first, the treatment must be of a substantial manner and not something that is trivial. So if you were passed over for promotion based on your sexual orientation, you could file a complaint of discrimination based on sexual orientation with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR would conduct an investigation and if they find substantial evidence, you could file a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") for trial.

A few important points prior to filing your complaint with the IDHR. First, make sure you secure as much evidence of the discrimination as possible. The evidence may be text messages, emails, or co-workers who may have witnessed any comments. So if your boss makes reference to your sexual orientation and makes derogatory comments those would be good examples of evidence that would help your case. Another important point is to make sure you are doing a good job at work and have good attendance. Don't give the company a reason to discipline or fire you. The bottom line is that you have legal protection if you are gay and the company is discriminating against you.

Posted On: July 13, 2012

Joliet Illinois Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

You are working at a company in Joliet Illinois and doing your best to perform well. The problem is your male supervisor is trying to ask you out on dates and he makes it clear that he wants a sexual relationship with you. What if anything can and should you do? Well if the supervisor is doing it, there is strict liability on the company. If it is another employee you must notify the company and give them a chance to remedy the situation before there will be liability on the company. So in the example above, you should hire a good employment lawyer and file a sexual harassment complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").

The IDHR will cross-file the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). This gives you both state and federal options going forward. If you are successful at the IDHR you will have a right to have your sexual harassment case heard by an administrative law judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC"). The judge may award you lost wages, money for emotional distress and attorney fees. It is very important that you protect your employment rights and don't let the supervisor or company get away with forcing you to endure sexual harassment in the workplace.

Posted On: July 11, 2012

Chicago Retaliation Cases At the Illinois Department Of Human Rights

So you are at work in downtown Chicago and you witness some type of discrimination at work and report it to management. You think that this makes you a good employee and you are following company policy. But ever since you reported the discrimination management has been nit-picking your work performance. In fact you just recently received a negative job performance and can't understand why. The reason you finally figure out is because you reported the discrimination and now the company is engaging in retaliation. What should you do? Do you have any rights in Illinois? The answer is yes and here is what you should do

Call a good employment lawyer and file a complaint of retaliation with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR is mandated by state law to complete an investigation of your complaint within one-year. The IDHR will also cross-file your complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). This will give you the best level of protection and allow you to seek damages for lost wages, lost benefits, future loss of wages, attorney fees and money for emotional distress. The important point is to act fast as in Chicago and the rest of Illinois, you only have 180 days from the date of the discrimination to file with the IDHR.

Posted On: July 10, 2012

Chicago EEOC Right To Sue Letter

So you filed a sexual harassment case with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and you want to know what is next. Well they will conduct an investigation at some point. The key words being some point. They don't exactly drop what they are doing and start the investigation. In my opinion if you want to have the case investigated file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") as they are mandated by law to complete an investigation within 365 days. And by the way if you filed with the IDHR they will cross-file with the EEOC so you get a two for one. Basically the EEOC is just the federal version of the IDHR.

So back to the EEOC. One reason to file with the EEOC is if you want to file a lawsuit in federal court. At any time after you file with the EEOC you can request a right to sue letter. The request must be made in writing and once received the EEOC will cease to investigate your case, will close out their file and issue a right to sue letter. The letter will give you 90 days from the date it was issued to file a lawsuit. If you file on the 91st day your case will get dismissed so you must file within 90 days. Federal court can be very tricky and if you try and file and proceed with a federal lawsuit on your own, you are going to have problems. If you have a good case, you won't have a problem finding a good employment attorney.

Posted On: July 9, 2012

Chicago Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The tight job market is making work tough on everyone and employers seem to be flexing their muscle and making things hard on employees. My Chicago office is seeing an increase in the discrimination cases based on sexual orientation. There are probably several reasons for this increase. First more people are open about their sexual orientation and therefore there are more opportunities to become the victim of discrimination. Second the employers don't seem to be giving the proper training to their employees about what not to say or do regarding someones sexual orientation. Under the Illniois Human Rights Act ("Act") it is a violation of the law to single someone out based on their sexual orientation.

If you believe you are being treated different at work based on your sexual orientation, you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR will investigate the complaint and within one-year file a report finding either substantial evidence of the discrimination or lack of substantial evidence. If there is substantial evidence you would have the right to file a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") for trial. You could also file a complaint directly with the local circuit court. If there is a finding of lack of substantial evidence you can file directly with the local circuit court or ask the IHRC review the finding of the IDHR. The main point is there are options available for you and if you believe you are the victim of discrimination contact an seasoned employment attorney.

Posted On: July 8, 2012

Chicago Constructive Discharge Cases

The phone seems to ring more and more each week in my Chicago office regarding what constitutes a constructive discharge in Illinois. Under the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act"), an employee is considered to be constructively discharged if the workplace atmosphere is so hostile based on discrimination that any reasonable person would quit. And this quitting is treated the same as a firing under the law. Another words, you have a separate claim of discrimination based on the constructive discharge.

So what do you do if this happens to you? You have a legal right to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR will investigate your claim of discrimination on your behalf. However, it is a good idea to have an attorney working for you to make sure the IDHR does a good job. There are very tricky areas of the law that many people are not aware of and that the IDHR investigators overlook. When this happens, your rights and your case could be affected. It is very important for you to protect your rights and seek sound legal advice on your employment related discrimination case.

Posted On: July 6, 2012

Best Western Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $365,000

Hotel groups Pacific Hospitality and Seasons Hotel, which does business as Best Western Evergreen Inn and Best Western Tacoma Dome paid $365,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit. The employment discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a group of workers. According to published accounts the general manager persistently harassed and denigrated women, including those who were minorities and had strong religious beliefs. This type of activity resuled in a multiple count discrimination lawsuit based on racial discrimination, gender discrimination and religious discrimination.

A group of female employees were subjected to the constant use of racial slurs and derogatory sex-based and racial comments, yelling and physical intimidation. Things got even worse for on employee who had a stapler thrown at her head. I can't believe this type of activity actually took place at a place of work. Another woman was told she was nothing but a welfare mother and should abort her pregnancy. There must have been some backward thinking people working at this hotel. To make matters worse the general manager also illegally fired five women after they revealed they were pregnant--which would be pregnancy discrmination.

“The women in this case were trying to support their families—to keep the lights on and put food on the table. Rather than being allowed to work, they were threatened, screamed at, subjected to sexist and racist slurs by upper management and had their religious beliefs belittled." said EEOC attorney William R. Tamayo.

Continue reading " Best Western Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $365,000 " »

Posted On: July 5, 2012

Sewing Company Settles National Origin Lawsuit For $75,000

B.J. Con/Sew Corporation pays $75,000 to settle a national origin harassment lawsuit. Apparently the company sewed itself into a corner and ended up having a lawsuit filed against them by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC'). According to documents which have been made public the company subjected an employee to harassment because of his Hispanic national origin. In Illinois Hispanic is not recognized as a race so you have to file under national origin, color or ancestry. The only three races which are recognized in Illinois are white, black and asian.

In this case the employee, Jason Ramirez, was forced to resign after the company failed to address multiple complaints that Ramirez made about the harassment. This is referred to as a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge occurs when working conditions get so bad any reasonable person would quit. It is treated the same as being fired for purposes of discrmiination claims. Ramirez, who has one Hispanic parent, was subjected to the harassment on a near-daily basis for two-years.

“There is no place for harassment of any kind in any workplace.” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes

Continue reading " Sewing Company Settles National Origin Lawsuit For $75,000 " »

Posted On: July 4, 2012

Guimarra Vineyards Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $350,000

Giumarra Vineyards settles a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit for $350,000. The multi-count discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). As part of the settlement the company agreed to institute a massive training program geared toward educating the mostly Hispanic workforce on sexual harassment.

According to published accounts a 17-year-old female migrant worker was sexually harassed by a supervisor while she was working in the vineyards. Other workers who came forward to her aid were subjected to retaliation. This type of activity is typical in company's anymore. They like to silence anyone who is not supporting the company position. In this case the company should have taken the sexual harassment complaint in a more serious fashion.

“We encourage all workers to report sexual harassment and retaliation with the EEOC." said EEOC attorney Melissa Barrios.
Posted On: July 3, 2012

Holiday Inn Express Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $90,000

Holiday Inn Express pays $90,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after initial settlement talks broke down. According to published accounts, the hotel subjected several female employees to a sexually hostile work environment at the hotel. Additionally, one female employee was fired after complaining about the sexual harassment--this is called retaliation.

The three females subjected to sexual harassment were Tamara Byrd, Pamela Kral, and Billie Jones. Over a period of almost two years the hotel’s male general manager subjected the women to sexual comments and sexual advances. As if this were not bad enough he also touched the women in a sexual nature. The company did not take any of the complaints seriously and did nothing to stop the sexual harassment. This type of activity and behavior by the company is regrettable and will always result in liability. The company should have taken immediate action.

"Sexual harassment in the workplace will simply not be tolerated,” “An employer is obligated to maintain a workplace free of harassment.”said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes
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