October 8, 2012

Male On Male Sexual Harassment Cases

Roy Farms allowed a supervisor to sexually harass male laborers and as a result is the defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts a male general manager constantly barraged male workers with inappropriate comments that were both sexual and threatening. This stuff goes on all the time and most people just don't realize it.

The general manager touched them in a sexual manner and asked them to look at him while he urinated in public. Talk about a real creepy guy. Martin Barrera finally had enough and told the general manager to stop. When he would nots top he reported the matter to a former supervisor as well as the owner of the farm. When nothing was done to stop the harassment he quit--which is called a constructive discharge.

"I have worked in the farm industry for many years, and I had never before faced such extreme abuse," said Barrera. "I want this lawsuit to ensure that other farm workers don't have to experience the same mistreatment."


October 4, 2012

The South Loop Club Sued For Sexual Harassment

The South Loop Club in Chicago is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment, retaliation and constructive discharge. The lawsuit is the result of an investigation that revealed female employees complained to management about the ongoing and pervasive sexual harassment. And what makes matters worse, some females who complained were forced to quit, which is called a constructive discharge. Other females were subjected to retaliation and fired by management. One thing is sure, this case will not go away and probably result in a sizable payout.

According to published accounts owners and managers made frequent comments of a sexual nature to subordinate female employees. Sometimes with the tough economy, managers believe they can treat employees as they wish with no consequences. However, when women come forward and complain to the EEOC things end up changing. My guess is other women may come forward now that this is public and they realize the conduct they may have endured is not proper. There are strict time limits for filing complaints with the EEOC so they should consult with an employment lawyer at once.

"In today's economy, even people with jobs may feel vulnerable and try their best to put up with intolerable working conditions rather than attempt to find a new job. But no employee can be forced to endure sexual misconduct at work." Said EEOC attorney John Hendrickson
September 27, 2012

Genlyte Thomas Group LLC Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit FOr $30,000

Genlyte Thomas Group, LLC, pays $30,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of KeWanda Lawson. According to published accounts the company subjected Lawson to a hostile work environment because of the sexual harassment. Lawson was hired as a temporary employee and became a permanent warehouse lead within just a few months showing she was a good solid worker. Lawson was the only female in Philips's Dallas warehouse department which sometimes can be a problem.

Lawson experienced unwelcome and sexually vulgar comments, sexual advances and touches by the warehouse manager, Trent Bertrand, and other co-workers. She reported the conduct to management but nothing was done to prevent it from continuing. Lawson ended up quitting her job was is called a constructive discharge. If you are forced to quit your job because of sexual harassment it is treated as a firing for legal purposes.

"As the only female employee in the defendant's Dallas warehouse, Ms. Lawson was targeted for this crude and disturbing behavior by those with whom she worked." said EEOC Attorney Devika Seth
September 15, 2012

When Is Quitting A Constructive Discharge In Chicago

So you are at work and the boss is engaging in sexual harassment. You complain to human resources and even tell the boss to stop. Nothing you do seems to stop his behavior and you are stressed out. What should you do at this point? Because the boss is doing the sexual harassment there is strict liability on the company and on the boss. If it were just a co-worker harassing you, the company does not have liability until you let them know about the harassment and they have a chance to correct it. In the example above you are in a tough spot. You have already put the company on notice and asked the boss to stop--so now what?

If the harassment gets so severe that you can no longer go into work you can quit. If you quit under these circumstances you can claim a constructive discharge. What this allows you to do is file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") for discrimination based on sexual harassment and constructive discharge. The standard for determining constructive discharge is what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. And don't forget if you quit work because of discrimination you can file for unemployment benefits with the Illinois Department of Employment Security ("IDES"). Whether you actually collect unemployment benefits will be determined by IDES but at least file.

September 9, 2012

When Is Quitting A Constructive Discharge In Chicago

Generally if you quit your job you are not entitled to collect unemployment benefits or otherwise claim you were fired. However, depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to collect unemployment even if you quit your job. Additionally, you may have a claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). Under the law in Illinois if you complain about discrimination or are subjected to discrimination while an employee at work you have guaranteed rights. If the discrimination gets to a point where any reasonable employee would quit, the quitting is called a constructive discharge. And as a constructive discharge it is treated as a firing not for misconduct.

If you believe you are in such a situation and you quit immediately file for unemployment benefits with the Illinois Department of Employment Security ("IDES"). At the same time you can file a complaint with the IDHR and ask for lost wages, attorney fees, and money for emotional distress. Employment lawyers who concentrate on these types of cases can go through the facts of your situation and determine the best course of action. Like any other case, you need some evidence to prove your case. Always save emails, text message and other evidence that you may have of the discrimination. Remember that there are employment rights in Illinois that you have as an employee.

September 2, 2012

What Happens When You Quit Your Job Because Of Sexual Harassment

So my Chicago office gets many calls from people who are the victim of sexual harassment at work. Usually it is the boss or supervisor that is doing the harassment. It gets so bad that they go into therapy and end up on medication. They also don't want to continue going into work. So where do they stand in a situation like this? Well if things get so bad that a reasonable person would quit it is called a constructive discharge and treated as a termination in the legal sense. I would tell the person to file for unemployment benefits at once.

In the fact pattern above you could file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") based on sexual harassment and constructive discharge. This would allow you to attempt to get damages which would include lost wages, lost benefits, attorney fees, money for anxiety, medical expenses and you could even ask to be reinstated if you so choose. The important point is to speak with an experienced employment attorney who concentrates on sexual harassment cases. There is a short window of time for filing and it is important to get and protect evidence prior to filing.

August 31, 2012

Springfield Illinois Constructive Discharge Cases

I have two offices in the state of Illinois and my downstate office gets calls from the Springfield area asking to explain a constructive discharge. The Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act") governs the rights of employees in Illinois relative to discrimination. Under the Act, an employee cannot be subjected to discrimination. A constructive discharge occurs when an employee is subjected to discrimination in the workplace and the hostile work environment it creates is such that a reasonable person would not longer tolerate it and quits. For the purpose of a lawsuit it is treated as a termination. I recommend if this happens you immediately file with the Illinois Department of Employment Security ("IDES") for unemployment benefits.

So what remedies are available if you quit and call it a constructive discharge? First you would file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). If you are successful with the IDHR, your case will move to the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") or you can elect to take your case to the local circuit court. An experienced employment lawyer can explain which would be best in your particular case. There are a number of factors involved in deciding where to file. The most important point is that you save as much evidence as possible of the discrimination. Text messages, voice mails, and emails are usually the best form of evidence. In some cases, other employees can be witnesses but remember they may not wish to get involved for fear of losing their job.

August 26, 2012

Damages In Chicago Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

So you are working in downtown Chicago and the boss is now engaging in sexual harassment. He keeps asking you to meet him for drinks after work and is flirting with you. You are convinced that he wants a sexual relationship with you and you don't want to engage in a relationship with him. What are your options? And more importantly what can you claim for damages if you file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR")? The first option is to contact an aggressive employment lawyer who concentrates on sexual harassment cases. Once you are comfortable with your employment lawyer the next step is to file with the IDHR.

As far as damages are concerned you can get the following. You can get lost wages which are the actual wages you lost as a result of any negative job action. This can include money if you were demoted, fired or if you quit because you couldn't take the sexual harassment any longer. If you do quit because of the harassment it is referred to as a constructive discharge. One thing to keep in mind is you have to offset any lost wages by income you are receiving from a new job or unemployment. So if you are out of work for six months and lost $24,000 in wages but collected $6,000 in unemployment during that time, your lost wage damage would be $18,000. You can also get money for loss of benefits, lost opportunity at promotion and therefore higher wages, attorney fees and money for emotional distress. It is always a good idea to calculate your potential lost wage damage before taking any action.

August 24, 2012

In Chicago What Is The Difference Between Constructive Discharge and Retaliation

My Chicago office gets this question often. What is the difference between constructive discharge and retaliation. Well for the purposes of this examples lets utilize a sexual harassment case. So your boss is engaging in sexual harassment and you are rejecting his advances. You told him on more than one occasion that you don't wish to go out on a date with him. He keeps pestering you and now has cut your work hours or demoted you. These would both be examples of retaliation. Basically, any negative job action is considered a retaliation.

On the other hand if the boss just keeps asking you out and otherwise sexually harassing you, but not taking a negative job action against you what is that called? Well it is just sexual harassment. But lets say the sexual harassment is getting so bad that you can't come into work anymore and be around it so you quit. That is called a constructive discharge and for the purposes of the law it is treated as a firing for rejecting the sexual harassment. So both retaliation and constructive discharge are actionable in Illinois and can result in a complaint being filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").

August 15, 2012

Chicago Constructive Discharge Case Information

This short article is about constructive discharge cases in Chicago and will also apply to the entire state of Illinois. So what is a constructive discharge? Well under the law, a constructive discharge is treated the same as a termination of employment. The only difference is the employee quit and in affect discharges herself. Now in order to qualify your quitting as a constructive discharge, several things have to take place. First you have to have some sort of discrimination directed at you while at work. So for example if your boss is engaging in sexual harassment and hounding you for sex that would be discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act").

If the discrimination gets so bad that no reasonable person would continue working under that type of situation than quitting would be appropriate. This is usually referred to as a hostile work environment. In that case, the quitting could be called a constructive discharge. It is important to point out that the conduct has to be of a level that no reasonable person would remain employed. Generally, the employee would need to report the sexual harassment to human resources before quitting. Of course each case is different and a special determination would be made on the specific facts of each case. If you quit your job because of discrimination you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and claim a constructive discharge.

August 9, 2012

Toyota Dealership Pays $400,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Fremont Toyota pays $400,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after settlement talks failed. The facts of this case are troubling and it is hard to believe a big company engaged in this type of behavior. According to published accounts Fremont Toyota’s general manager singled out four Afghan American salesmen during a staff meeting, calling them “terrorists” and threatening them with violence. This type of behavior is troubling and illegal.

The men did what they were suppose to and reported the harassment to management. However once they did this they faced retaliation by the car dealership. The retaliation came in the form of additional verbal harass­ment and extra job scrutiny. If there is any negative job action after reporting discrimination, it is called retaliation. Finally, the salesmen felt they had no option but to resign--this is called a constructive discharge. The company learned the hard way that you can't treat people like this and you should have better discrimination training for management.

"The irony of this matter is that, after being labeled ‘terrorists’ at our old job, most of us found work with the U.S. military serving in Afghanistan protecting U.S. soldiers from the terrorists," said Mohammad Sawary, one of the former employees.
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
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.

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.

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" »

June 22, 2012

Bakery Settles Discrimination Case for $20,000

Savory Fare Bakery and Café pays $20,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Laura Mitchell. According to published accounts of the lawsuit, Mitchell had a speech and hearing impediment and the company denied her job training or a promotion because of this. You may not treat a person different just because they have a disability.

The actions of the bakery violated Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). This poor woman was a dishwasher and wanted to be promoted to cashier after working hard for the company. Instead of promoting her, she was forced to quit when the work environment became unbearable. Forcing someone to quit is called a constructive discharge. By not allowing her to train and then get promoted to the new position the company also created a hostile work environment for Mitchell.

“Employers must make employment decisions based upon the abilities of their applicants and employees, not based on myths, fears or stereotypes about a person’s disability." said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O'Neill
May 9, 2012

$50,000 Settlement By Four Points Sheraton Hotel In Discrimination Lawsuit

Four Points by Sheraton hotel pays $50,000 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of employee Basil Massih. According to published accounts, the company subjected Massish to a hostile work environment because of his Iraqi national origin. In fact the harassment got so bad that he had to resign his position which is also known as a constructive discharge.

The alleged harassment included mimicking Massih’s accent and mocking Arab vocal expressions. I know this sounds like such childish behavior but who would want to come into work each day and put up with this. To make matters worse he had to endure ethnic slurs such as “camel jockey”; and taunting and jeering at Massih relating to news stories about Iraq and the capture of terrorists. Massih complained to management but nothing was done to stop the harassment. I bet they take this type of behavior more serious now

“Employers have an affirmative duty to protect employees from discrimination and national origin harassment.” said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O’Neill
April 22, 2012

Chicago Constructive Discharge Cases On The Rise

There is good news and bad news regarding the number of employment related constructive discharge cases in Chicago. The number of claims is on the rise which is bad news for employees but good news for employment attorneys. So what is a constructive discharge? If you are being discriminated against or if another employee is being discriminated against and the effect is making work intolerable and you quit--it is a constructive discharge. So for example if you complain about sexual harassment and then nothing changes and the boss is still making inappropriate comments to you, and they only way to escape it is to quit it would be considered a constructive discharge.

Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the country and there is a very large work force. However, many business owners believe that the economy is such that they don't have to take complaints of discrimination seriously. It is very important that you realize you have rights while you are employed. You don't have to be afraid of what the companies human resource department may do to you. My Chicago office handles constructive discharge cases all the time and I am very experienced in it. Remember there is never a fee to discuss your employment issue. Protect yourself while you are employed in Chicago.

April 19, 2012

Burger King Franchise Pays A Whopper To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Kaizen Restaurants, Inc., which operates dozens of Burger King restaurants pays $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The sexual harassment lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of a teenage worker. According to published accounts the teenager got her first job at Burger King and the supervisor began to sexually harass her. The older, married supervisor made unwelcome sexual comments and touched the female teenager. This guy sounds like a real piece of work and I can't believe the company hired such a man.

To make matters worse the supervisor would discuss her virginity, and demand that she have sex with him. You wonder if this manager was actually doing any work while at work. When she rejected his advances he ordered her not to tell management about his behavior. She reported this crazy conduct to management and they refused to intervene and stop it. The supervisor then began to follow her around the store and into the parking lot on breaks. She finally quit because of this hostile work environment. When an employee quits because of discriminatory conduct it is called a constructive discharge. You can see how much money this Burger King franchise had to pay because of the horrible actions of a supervisor. In Illinois there is strict liability on the company if the supervisor engages in sexual harassment.

“What I had to face at work every day was humiliating and wrong,” said the worker, who was 17 years old when she started working there.


April 16, 2012

Victims of Sexual Harassment Seven Times More Likely To Leave Company

A new study out claims that people who file complaints of sexual harassment are seven times more likely to either quit or get fired from their company. Compare this to only ten percent of the people engaging in the sexual harassment leaving the company. What this study shows is that companies are not taking sexual harassment seriously. Getting fired for reporting sexual harassment is called retaliation and it seems to be taking place often. And if the working conditions get so bad after reporting sexual harassment that the person must leave, it is called a constructive discharge. In either case, it is just wrong that a victim of sexual harassment has to leave her job.

The study was conducted by the Work For Life at the University of Southern Australia. The study also claims that the average payout for a victim of sexual harassment is $7,000. This number is misleading in my opinion. One reason is each case is different and many cases are settled with a confidentiality clause so the real payout amount in many cases is unknown and therefore unaccounted for in this study. Another interesting point the study makes is that many sexual harassment claims are poorly handled inside the organization. The task of investigating a sexual harassment complaint would usually fall to the human resources department. What is clear from the study is that if you are the victim of sexual harassment contact an employment lawyer and protect your rights.

April 7, 2012

Beehive of Vernal Inc. Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $22,000

Beehive of Vernal, Inc., pays $22,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was the result of a failed attempt to settle the case by both parties. According to published accounts Beehive’s owner offered an assistant manager’s job to a replacement upon learning of the assistant manager’s pregnancy. This would constitute pregnancy discrimination because they are treating the pregnant employee different than other employees based on her pregnancy.

To make matters worse, the owner repeatedly asked her when she planned to stop working. Unless he asked this question of all employees this is discrimination. I really can't believe this owner would treat a pregnant woman this way. The owner also subjected the pregnant woman to closer scrutiny, ultimately compelling her to quit. When an employee is forced to quit it is referred to as a constructive discharge. In Illinois it is a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act") to discriminate against someone based on pregnancy. It is also a violation of federal law to discriminate against someone for the same reason. Additionally, if you force an employee to quit because you make work difficult for them, it is an additional charge of discrimination.

“Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. The EEOC is steadfast in its commitment to assist victims of all forms of employment discrimination.” said EEOC attorney Rayford Irvin.
March 10, 2012

U.S. Cellular Sued For Sexual Harassment For Searching Customer Phones For Naked Pictures

Cellular phone giant U.S. Cellular must be getting signals from planet horny. According to a recently filed lawsuit, when customers brought in phones for repair, employees would search the phones for naked pictures. Not only would they search for the naked pictures but once they found the pictures they would show them around the store to other employees. This is the basis of a sexual harassment lawsuit involving ex-employee Lisa Blazek. Some of the pictures that were shown to Blazek included pictures of a woman masturbating, and a man lying on a bed naked. Not only is this a violation of the persons privacy but in Chicago it would rise to the level of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The lawsuit alleges a company investigator falsely accused her of having a relationship with one of the harassers to have leverage over her so she would drop her complaint.
Blazek alleged she was told she would have to relocate to another office to avoid the sexual harassment. After enduring the sexual harassment for two years and not having any help she quit. This is called a constructive discharge. If things get so bad you have to quit it is treated as a firing under the law in Illinois.

"It got to the point where I could no longer handle going to work," "It affected me physically, mentally and emotionally. It took over every aspect of my life." Blazek said.
February 18, 2012

Constructive Discharge In Chicago

There are terms used in employment law that may confuse some people. One such term is the word constructive discharge. In Chicago if you are working and someone is discriminating against you to the point where you can not work anymore, and you quit it is referred to as a constructive discharge. The standard is what a reasonable person would do in your circumstances. So for example is the boss tells you that you have a nice rear end and you quit the next day that may not qualify as a constructive discharge. The reason would be it is a one-time incident even though is would be sexual harassment. On the other hand if the boss has been telling you that daily and you tell him to stop daily and you are getting stressed and can't take it anymore, that probably would qualify as a constructive discharge.

In Illinois a constructive discharge case would be filed with the Illinois Department of Human RIghts ("IDHR"). In Chicago there seems to be a rise in the number of constructive discharge cases filed with the IDHR. One reason is probably the bad economy and the fact that employers seem to believe they can do anything they please. Employees are under more stress at work and quite frankly they seem under attack. The rights of employees is eroding and workers in Chicago must take a stand and protect their rights.

February 10, 2012

Hobson Air Conditioning Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Hobson Air Conditioning, Inc. settled a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit for $37,500. The multiple count discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of former employee Misty Kratky. According to published accounts Kratky's male manager subjected her to sexually vulgar comments and touched her. The sexual harassment occurred soon after she was hired. This manager must have thought she was there to be his play toy. It is amazing this guy was in a leadership position.

The sexual harassment got worse and included repeatedly asking Kratky to show him her breasts. I mean if the guy needed to see breasts that bad he should have gone to a strip club--get a life buddy. This manager also would make crude sexual demands on her and even exposing himself to her on multiple occasions. She complained to management about this but nothing was done to stop the harassment. Because the sexual harassment continued and nothing was done to the harasser, Kratky quit and this is considered a constructive discharge under the law.

EEOC Attorney Toby Wosk Costas said, “As the only female employee in her office, Ms. Kratky was targeted for this crude and disturbing behavior on the work premises."
January 16, 2012

What Is A Constructive Discharge In Chicago?

What happens in Chicago if you boss is making your life so miserable that you can no longer work? Well if there is an underlying complaint of discrimination you will have a claim for a constructive discharge. Constructive discharge in Illinois means that if you are being discriminated against and it creates a hostile work environment that a reasonable person would not tolerate you can quit and it is treated legally as a termination. However, if there is no underlying complaint of discrimination you have a problem. In Chicago and throughout Illinois there is no general harassment law. This means if the boss is just a jerk you get no protection.

So what happens next if you quit your job? Well I would do two things. First I would file a claim with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and second I would file a multiple count claim with the Illinois Department of Human RIghts ("IDHR"). The claim would be for the underlying discrimination and for constructive discharge. Remember that the more legitimate claims you have the better off you are. Chicago is seeing a rise in the number of constructive discharge claims and filing quickly is the best thing to do. Act fast and protect your rights if you are the victim of discrimination at work in Chicago.

January 12, 2012

Family Dollar Pays $45,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Family Dollar Stores of Virginia, Inc. pays $45,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The sexual harassment lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Chanele Brown. According to the complaint Brown was sexually harassed by her male store manager at the Family Dollar store where she worked. Even though Brown worked as a customer services representative for less than a month she still had a valid sexual harassment complaint against the company because a supervisor was harassing her.

The sexual harassment included the manager groping Brown and propositioning her for sex. Think of the pressure this puts on the worker when her boss is trying to have a sexual relationship and she doesn't want that. To make matters worse the manager also allegedly reduced Brown’s work hours during one week and told her that in order to have the hours reinstated, Brown had to let the manager come to her home. This is called Quid Quo Pro which is Latin for this for that. Brown ended up refusing the manager’s request and resigned the next day. This is referred to as a constructive discharge and means that it is treated under the law as a firing.

“Employers are reminded that it is not enough to have policies prohibiting sexual harassment in place, hidden away in a handbook somewhere,” said EEOC attorney Lynette A. Barnes.
December 14, 2011

Don't Put Up With Sexual Harassment

I know the job market is tight right now. People are afraid that they may lose their job at any time. And because of the tight market, they are afraid if they do lose their job they won't be able to find another. How can they pay the bills and feed themselves if they lose their job? For these reasons many people are putting up with sexual harassment at work. In Illinois you have rights and you don't have to put up with sexual harassment in the workplace. My office fights for people who have been subjected to discrimination including sexual harassment.

Just because you put up with sexual harassment in the workplace doesn't mean you will keep your job forever. What happens if you don't complain about the sexual harassment and then get fired? If you complain after you are fired, it will look like you are only complaining now because you were fired. I always tell people to take the initiative and file before you lose your job. Protect yourself and your rights and talk with an employment lawyer regarding your rights and your options. If things get too bad and you can't keep working while the sexual harassment is going on your can quit. This is referred to as a constructive discharge and treated as a termination under the law.

December 2, 2011

Lakemont Homes Inc. Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $267,000

Lakemont Homes, Inc. pays $267,000 to settle a class sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of multiple female employees. According to published accounts four female employees of the company endured vulgar sexual comments and unwanted propositions by a male lead sales agent. The women did not want to engage in sex and repeatedly told the male they were not interested.

In a shocking allegation the lead agent asked one of the women to have sex with him, even threatening her life at gunpoint. This is just crazy. I can't believe people actually act like this in the workplace. The women complained to management but nothing was done to stop it. Instead the women were retaliated against for reporting the conduct in the form of unfavorable scheduling and poor performance evaluations. And what happens all too often the women were forced to quit while the harasser remained employed. When an employee is forced to quit because of discrimination it is referred to as a constructive discharge.

“While we commend Lakemont for taking measures to resolve this matter, we hope more employers recognize that they must deal with workplace harassment quickly and effectively,” said EEOC attorney Anna Park.
November 29, 2011

What Is A Constructive Discharge In Chicago?

What is a constructive discharge in Illinois? A constructive discharge occurs when an employee is put in a position because of discrimination that a reasonable person in the same position would quit. Under the law a constructive discharge is treated as a termination by the employer. If a person is subjected to a hostile work environment because of discriminatory behavior, the person can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). Under the law the person would have 180 days from the last date of the discrimination to file such a complaint.

After a complaint works its' way through the system with the IDHR two things will happen. Either a finding of substantial evidence or lack thereof. There is actually a third option, the IDHR doesn't complete its' investigation within one-year and a right to file directly with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC"). The IHRC is where the actual trial will take place and where remedies occur. It is very important to consult with an employment lawyer early in the process to maximize your chances of getting either a good settlement or judgment.

November 20, 2011

Garfield Medical Center Pays $530,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Garfield Medical Center pays $530,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of several of the female victims of the sexual harassment. The female workers were either retaliated against or compelled to quit after their complaints were ignored by hospital management. When an employee quits because of the creation of a hostile work environment it is known as a constructive discharge.

According to published accounts a male emergency room admitting representative engaged in sexual harassment of female employees by subjecting them to inappropriate touching and propositions for sex. But the sexual harassment didn't stop there, it also included graphic discussions of sexual activities, and obscene pictures. Many of the female victims had to quit because they couldn't take the harassment anymore. What is really remarkable is that the company took over two years to fire the employee who was doing the harassment. Just think of how many woman had to endure this type of behavior because the company wouldn't take immediate action.

“In order to be productive, employees deserve a workplace free from sexual comments, repeated propositions and inappropriate touching,” said EEOC attorney Anna Y. Park.
October 20, 2011

What Is A Constructive Discharge In Illinois?

A constructive discharge is treated in Illinois as a termination. Generally what happens is an employee is the victim of sexual harassment or another form of discrimination, complains to management about it and nothing is done. The situation at work gets so unbearable that any reasonable person would quit. The courts have held that a person does not have to continue working in a hostile work environment once management is aware of the situation and refused to remedy the situation. In Illinois I filed constructive discharge cases with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and they are automatically cross-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission("EEOC").

There are very strict time limits for filing such complaints and it is very important to not miss the filing deadline or else your case will be lost forever. Many times management will say they are investigating the complaint and they will drag their feet and waiting until the 180 days is past. By doing this, the company will have prevented you from filing with the IDHR because the statute of limitations will be in affect. It is very important to speak with an employment lawyer so you can learn your rights and not let the company push you around.

September 28, 2011

Aqua Tri Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $462,000

Aqua Tri settles a sexual harassment lawsuit for $462,500. The lawsuit also alleged retaliation and constructive discharge. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of hispanic workers. According to published accounts, supervisors subjected at least eight Hispanic female employees to a sexually hostile work environment which included inappropriate touching, pressuring them for dates and sex. This kind of behavior is not acceptable and will cost a company a great deal of money each time.

The female workers reported the sexual harassment to management but nothing was done to stop it. Some of the females were even told if they had sex with the supervisors they could be promoted. Several employees were either laid off or discharged following an Aqua Tri internal investigation in 2009 due to their perceived support of the victims’ claims. It is illegal to take a negative job action against any employee who participates in a discrimination investigation.

“We commend Aqua Tri for implementing aggressive injunctive relief measures to ensure this will not happen again,” said EEOC attorney Anna Park.
September 18, 2011

What Is A Constructive Discharge In Illinois?

My Chicago office gets many calls about what constitutes a constructive discharge. Lets first look at what may lead you to quit your job. Lets say you are the victim of sexual harassment at work and you complain to management. If management does not take action to stop the sexual harassment or if they claim their investigation does not confirm the sexual harassment you are left with two choices. First, keep putting up with the sexual harassment or to quit your job. Generally, the sexual harassment would have to be so bad that no reasonable person in your position would continue working.

Another words, the conditions at work are so bad that you have to quit and this is treated under the law as a firing. It is very important for you to make it clear to management that you are being sexually harassed, that you consider a hostile work environment to be in place and that you want it to stop because it is interfering with your ability to do your job. I recommend doing this in writing so you have proof that you put management on notice. Remember at the end of the day, management will usually try to protect the company and if you only complain verbally, you may have a hard time proving your case.

September 12, 2011

Cake Shop Sued For Sexual Harassment

ABC Cake Shop & Bakery is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment. The sexual harassment took place at work and involved a large group of female workers including teenagers. According to published accounts one of the owners would make sexual comments and engaged in unwelcome touching which created a hostile work environment for the female workers.

Some of the women who could not tolerate the sexual harassment were forced to quit their jobs which is commonly referred to as a constructive discharge. I will be following this case and I believe the women will receive a nice settlement as a result of what took place. It is very tough on employees when the person doing the harassment is the owner. Who do you report that to? The answer is you file a complaint with the EEOC or other state agency and proceed that way. In Illinois you can file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR does a better job of quickly investigating complaints of discrimination.

"Employers of all sizes have an important responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of sexual harassment.” said EEOC attorney Elizabeth Cadle
August 5, 2011

Rock-Tenn Pays $160,000 To Settle A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Rock-Tenn Company pays $160,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The sexual harassment lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a female worker after she was the victim of sexual harassment. The company really messed this up and look at how much this cost them. I am amazed at how little effort and time companies take in training their employees about sexual harassment.

According to published accounts the company investigated the sexual harassment complaint by the female worker but the harassment continued. One of the women had been forced to resign due to the ongoing harassment which is called a constructive discharge. I am sure in the future the company will take sexual harassment in a more serious fashion.

Pamela B. Dixon, an EEOC trial attorney said, “Even though Rock-Tenn denied that it had violated the law, we are pleased that the parties worked cooperatively to resolve this lawsuit.”
June 17, 2011

Sonic Drive-In of Los Lunas, Ltd. and B&B Consultants Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $2 Million

Sonic Drive-In of Los Lunas, Ltd. and B&B Consultants settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit for $2 Million. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of women, some of whom were teenagers. According to published accounts, former manager Robert Gomez, subjected a class of women, including teenagers, to sexual harassment, including sexual comments and innuendo as well as unwanted touching. This type of behavior should not happen to such a large group of employees without the knowledge of management.

Allegations included that women who asked Gomez to stop harassing them or complained about their work environment were subjected to retaliation by management. Some employees were also forced to quit their jobs because of the sexual harassment, retaliation, and/or the employer’s failure to provide preventive or remedial relief. When this occurs it is called a constructive discharge. You can see how much money this type of behavior and activity cost the company. I can't believe that companies don't spend more time and money training management. I hope other companies can learn a lesson from this.

“Managers must constantly be reminded of their obligation to maintain workplaces where employees are not subjected to illegal harassment or retaliation,” said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O'Neill.
June 8, 2011

Veterinary Center Pays $101,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

East Hawaii Veterinary Center LLC pays $101,000 to settle a sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after settlement talks failed. The EEOC filed on behalf of many women who claim they were the victims of sexual harassment. Published accounts claim a co-owner regularly subjected the females to sexually harassming conduct for years.

On a daily basis the co-owner insulted the female employees by making sexual commnets and hostile commets to women. The clinic failed to exercise its duty of reasonable care to prevent and correct the sexually harassing behavior. It became obvious the owners knew what was taking place and did nothing to stop it. The offending co-owner fired at least three of the women and forced others to quit. When someone is forced to quit it is referred to as a constructive discharge.

EEOC attorney Timothy Riera said, “Sexual harassment and gender discrimination remain problems in Hawaii, and it is important to remember the debilitating effects that such misconduct can have on a work environment."
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.


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.”
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.

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.

March 24, 2011

DiMare Ruskin Farms Subjecting Women To Sexual Harassment

DiMare Ruskin, Inc. had a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claiming the company subjected an entire class of females to sexual harassment and then retaliation, when they complained about it. According to published accounts, father-and-son supervisors at the DiMare tomato facility subjected female employees to severe sexual harassment. Any sexual harassment is horrible but some instances are more aggregious than others and in this case the alleged sexual harassment was on the high end of the scale.

The sexual harassment included physical contact such as groping and forcibly attempting to kiss the female employees. It seems as though the father-and-son team thought they could do anything to these females and no one could hold them responsible. There was also verbal harassment, which included the usual vulgar sexual comments. When the females decided to complain the father-and-son supervisors engaged in retaliation. Retaliation takes place when a negative job action results from a complaint of discriminatory conduct.

“It is crucial that the EEOC continue its efforts to eradicate sexual harassment and all other types of discrimination from the workplace whether it occurs in an office, a factory, at a construction site or in agricultural fields.” said EEOC attorney Robert Weisberg

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February 8, 2011

King Cones Ice Cream Shop Serving More Than Ice Cream

Rachelle Gray and Brianna Harvey, both former employees of King Cones ice cream shop claim its co-owner repeatedly made unwelcome sexual advances toward them and they both filed sexual harassment complaints. According to accounts which have been published, co-owner Eric Gavinsky propositioned both women while they worked for King Cones. Both women claim the sexual harassment was repeated and that Gavinsky would not take no for an answer.

The final straw came when their hours were cut after they refused to attend a swingers party. If they can prove this, they would have an additional claims of retaliation for refusing the sexual harassment and also a claim of constructive discharge. If an employee quits because the discrimination is to bad to continue working, it is called a constructive discharge. The other co-owner, Gavinsky’s wife, Pamela, observed some of the incidents and did nothing to stop it so she is also named in the lawsuit.

February 4, 2011

School Bus Company Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $150,000

First Student which operates a school bus company pays $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of four women. According to published accounts a male supervisor sexually harassed at least four women, including bus drivers and a human resources assistant The four female employees also the victims of retaliation and some were forced to quit,which would be a constructive discharge.

Details of the lawsuit include the supervisor maing constant explicit remarks about the employees' body parts and the sexual acts he wanted to perform on them. It got progressively worse and the sexual harassment turned physical when the supervisor exposed himself, grabbed the breasts of a bus driver and rubbed his private parts against her body.

January 22, 2011

Paul Big M's Grocery Store Must Pay $1.2 Million After Losing Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Big Paul M grocery store must pay $1,260,080 after a jury ruled against them in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to testimony at trial a class of female employees, many of whom were teenagers still in high school at the time, was subjected to a hostile work environment by the store’s general manager for more than 10 years. Details of the sexual harassment included egregious acts of verbal and physical sexual conduct by the company’s general manager, Allen Manwaring.

As an example of the sexual harassment Manwaring suggested a sexual threesome with one teenage cashier’s mother, stuck his tongue in another teenage cashier’s mouth and grabbed and touched the breasts and buttocks of other women. It didn't stop there, Manwaring would also make propositions for sex, make lewd gestures to employees and refuse to stop when asked to do so. Many of the young females could not take it anymore and quit their job. This is often called a constructive discharge.

EEOC attorney Ami Sanghvi said, “The harassment at the store was especially egregious because many of the employees were teenage girls who were harassed by the General Manager, who was engaged to the owner, and felt they had no where to turn for help."
January 4, 2011

Secretary Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Kezjar Motors

Jennifer Denise Burch a former secretary of Kezjar Motors filed a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit against the company. According to court documnets management refused to address a sexual harassment situation resulting in her constructive discharge. Burch began working for Kezjar Motors in 2006 and after about a year one of her co-workers grabbed her and made sexually suggestive comments.

Burch said this happened on multiple occasions and she reported this inappropriate conduct to management. However, management refused to address the sexual harassment. The sexual harassment only got worse and Burch finally had to quit work. When an employee has to quit their job because of sexual harsassment it is also known as a constructive discharge.

The lawsuit says "Feeling that the working circumstances had become unconscionable and unbearable, Ms. Burch felt that she had no choice but to resign in order to preserve her own well-being and dignity."
January 3, 2011

Former Grocery Store Manager Accused Of Sexual Harassment

Eleven former employees of a grocery store called Paul's Big M claim the manager, Allen Manwaring, sexually harassed them physically and verbally over eight years. According to the females allegations Manwaring rubbed himself against them in a sexual way and also touched their breasts and buttocks. As if that weren't enough he also made sexual advances and vulgar comments to them. The sexual harassment lawsuit is finally coming to trial today and this blog will keep you updated as to the result.

Two of the young females were fired after they complained, which is considered retaliation. The other nine said they quit because of the harassment or retaliation, which is considered a constructive discharge. The case was first filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the EEOC conducted an investigation which substantiated the female workers claims.

“For many, the job at the company was the first they ever held and all were essentially half Mr. Manwaring’s age at the time they were first harassed,” the EECO said.
January 2, 2011

Former Apple Employment Files Lawsuit In Illinois For Disability Discrimination

Former Apple employee Nicole Sutton filed a discrimination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Illinois alleging Apple discriminated against her in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The allegations include negative job actions after treatment by a psychiatrist for a nervous disorder, the company keeping her in limbo without duties for several months because of the disability and Sutton being denied a promotion after Apple questioned her mental stability.

The complaint says that she was not mentally ill and she was constructively discharged by Apple’s actions. A constructive discharge occurs when an employee is under such harsh conditions that she must quit and therefore it is treated as a termination by the company if able to be proved. Sutton also claims she suffered humiliation, emotional distress and is seeking $300,000 in damages.

Sutton said "her medical condition was improperly disclosed to Apple store personnel by the company handling her disability claim."

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December 29, 2010

Subway Franchise Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $55,000

SKMATCH, Inc a franchise for a Subway restaurant pays $55,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC also alleged the creation of hostile work environment because of what happened to two female employees. Published accounts allege that the male assistant manager at the Subway store where Helena Miller worked, subjected her to repeated sexual comments, sexual propositions and name calling and sexual touching.

Miller was only 18 years old at the time she was sexually harassed, and the assistant manager who harassed her was 28. Miller complained to other managers about the sexual harassment but no action was taken in response to her complaints. The harassment was so intolerable that Miller was forced to quit her job in order to avoid being harassed. When an employee quits their job because of discrimination or sexual harassment it is referred to as a constructive discharge. This type of behavior by a member of management not only cost the company money but also bad publicity which will probably cost it customers.

“All workers have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment,” says EEOC attorney Lynette Barnes, “No one should have to put up with sexual comments or touching in their place of work.”

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December 25, 2010

Staffing Firm Settles Constructive Discharge Lawsuit For $20,000

Wisconsin Staffing Services, Inc. pays $20,000 to settle a racial discrimination and constructive discharge lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was the occured because allegedlly the president of the company engaged in repeated, acts of racial harassment toward a Native American employee, Carolyn Red Bear, allegedly including derogatory comments about Red Bear’s “ethnic” appearance, suggestions that she seek alternative employment in personal home care as more consistent with the skills of Native American people, and statements that she did not “fit in” with the white community in Ladysmith, Wis.

The constructive discharge lawsuit originated out of the company forcing Red Bear out of her job when she refused to comply with a directive from the company president to cut her hair, change her last name, and to stop “rubbing in” her heritage. When you are constructively discharge, it means you have to quit your job because things are so bad that no reasonable person would continue to work there. It is the same as being fired by the company.

"No employee can be required to endure harassment or mocking of her ethnic heritage as a price of holding on to her job,” said John Hendrickson, EEOC attorney.
November 20, 2010

One Communications Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $66,000

One Communications Corp. will pay $66,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed after first trying to reach a settlement in the case. According to published accounts, the vice president of sales regularly subjected account executives Collin Buten, Alan Gordon and Marc Reinstein to harassment because of their religion, Judaism, at the company’s facility in Conshohocken, Pa.

The three employees complained to management about the discrimination, which included anti-Semitic remarks, but the company failed to take effective remedial measures to stop the offensive conduct. The religious harassment was so intolerable that Gordon was forced to quit, which is considered a constructive discharge.

“Unfortunately, the number of religious discrimination charges filed with the EEOC has increased dramatically over the last decade,” said District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. of the EEOC.
November 9, 2010

Cactus Grill Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $150,000

The Cactus Grill will pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit involving a former teenage employee. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female employee. According to published reports, an assistant manager asked the 18-year-old female server for sex, touched her and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her. It is also alleged that the Cactus Grill had received complaints about the assistant manager before and did nothing to correct or stop his behavior.

After the female reported the sexual harassment, she claims it did not stop and resulted in a hostile work environment. She felt unsafe and uncomfortable at work so she quit. When this happens it is called a constructive discharge and can be a separate discrimination complaint. Cactus Grill is owned by Northstar Inc.

“The young woman told the restaurant that she did not want to return to work,” said Paul Pautler, Northstar’s attorney.
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.

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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.”
September 22, 2010

Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $130,000

Southwest Dental Group settles pregnancy discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $130,000. Published accounts claim that an upper-level member of management made inquiries during interviews of female applicants regarding their marital status; whether they were or planning to become pregnant; and if they had children. All of these questions are not appropriate and should not be asked during a job interview.

That was bad enough by also three former female employees were either demoted, discharged or forced to resign as a result of their pregnancies. This shows a clear pattern of discrimination by the company. One of those female employees was even discharged during her pregnancy. Another was demoted and ultimately discharged after she was unable to follow the manager’s instruction to take only two weeks of maternity leave following an unanticipated C-section. Upon return from maternity leave, a third female employee was forced to resign after she was demoted from her prior position of assistant manager to that of a clerk tasked with passing out flyers in a parking lot. When a person is forced to resign it is also referred to as a constructive discharge.

“The question of whether or not a woman is pregnant, wants to have children or already has them, cannot play a role in an employer’s decision to hire,” said Anna Park EEOC attorney.
September 7, 2010

Interior Decorator Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $250,000

It looks like being an interior decorator is a pretty good way to make a living-that is if you have ties to the housing authority. According to published reports, the Philadelphia Housing Authority ("PHA") will pay through its' insurance company $250,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim against executive director Carl R. Greene. The claim was first filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") by Elizabeth Helm, 29, a former interior decorator with PHA. According to her allegations Greene made advances including touching, grabbing, and groping her. Helm repeatedly told Greene to stop but Greene continued to forcibly and physically pursue inappropriate and unwanted contact of an intimate nature with her.

Because of this sexual harassment Helm was advised by her doctor not to return to work. She requested a medical leave, but was denied one by PHA. Because she was denied she took her vacation time and when it was exhausted and she did not return to work, PHA stopped paying her. She then applied for unemployment and PHA engaged in retaliation by fighting her claim. Fighting unemployment when allegations like this are brought to the attention of management is just stupid. It only makes the person want to pursue a claim and makes the amount available to them in damages increase. Additionally, if a person is unable to continue at work because of the discriminatory actions that are taking place at work, it is called a constructive discharge.


August 31, 2010

Grays Harbor Community Hospital Sued For Sexual Harassment

Grays Harbor Community Hospital is being sued for sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed the lawsuit on behalf of several female employees. According to allegations in the lawsuit, employee Jamie Toste repeatedly informed upper-level management that a supervising pharmacist was sexually harassing her and several other pharmacy technicians. The sexual harassment included offensive sexual comments, unsolicited discussion of his sex life and habits, showing explicit material from the Internet, and physically intrusive behavior such as approaching Toste from behind to whisper in her ear, blocking her pathway, and rubbing her back, legs and arms.

An investigation by the EEOC found the harassment of Toste escalated during 2006 and 2007, and that she felt compelled to resign after the hospital repeatedly failed to take effective corrective action to address her concerns about her safety. When an employee has to quit her job because of sexual harassment, it is referred to as a constructive discharge.

“Grays Harbor violated the law when it repeatedly failed to take action, despite numerous complaints from its employees concerning the conduct of this supervisor,” said EEOC attorney William R. Tamayo.
August 30, 2010

Pizza Pub Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $40,000

Pizza Pub pays $40,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of an 18-year old female worker. According to published accounts the manager of Pizza Pub subjected the female worker to physical touching and verbal comments of a sexual nature. The sexual harassment included telling her that he wanted to lick frosting off her body. The employee objected to his behavior but when it continued, she quit her job which is called constructive discharge.

If an employee is being sexually harassed at work and cannot escape the harassment other than quitting her job, it is the same as being fired. In this case the young woman was unable to escape the comments and physical harassment so she quit. Management needs to do a better job of training and supervising its' workers. Hopefully after paying this amount of money, the company will take the welfare of its' workers more serious.

“Teenage workers are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace and must be protected. The EEOC will remain vigilant in its enforcement of federal laws prohibiting such discrimination in the workplace,” said Barbara A. Seely, EEOC attorney.
August 25, 2010

Hospital Sued For Sexual Harassment--Gives New Meaning To Bedside Manner

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Garfield Medical Center alleging the hospital allowed a male worker to sexually harass an entire class of female workers. According to reports which were published, the sexual harassment included inappropriate touching and rubbing of body parts, propositions for romantic dates and sex-for-pay, graphic discussions of sexual activities, vulgar comments regarding female employees’ body parts, and even obscene comments regarding underage patients at the facility.

In an even more shocking revelation Garfield terminated an employee because she complained about the sexual harassment, while others were compelled to quit rather than endure the severely hostile work environment. When a worker is forced to quit because of a hostile work environment, it is called constructive discharge. This type of behavior by a large employer is sure to cost them plenty. I am glad the workers who are being sexually harassed decided to stand up and fight. This case will be followed closely and the results will be posted.

“The facts of this case are truly disturbing,” said Anna Y. Park, EEOC attorney. “While hospitals and health care facilities tend to focus on patient care, federal law requires them to protect their employees as well from harassment and sexual abuse.”
July 17, 2010

Illinois Elks Lodge Pays $107,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

An Elks Lodge in Jerseyville Illinois will pay $107,500 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of three female bartendors. According to the lawsuit the club’s trustees sexually harassed the three female bartenders. Details of the claims include that three trustees made repeated unwelcome sexual advances and sexually explicit comments to three bartenders but when the women complained, they were threatened, their hours were cut and they were assigned the least desirable shifts. This type of treatment is also referred to as retaliation.

One woman was fired, and the other two felt forced to quit. When an employee feels that because of discrimination directed toward them they must quit their job, the legal term utilized to describe it is constructive discharge. As part of the settlement, the Elks Lodge also agreed to conduct sexual harassment training for Elks managers and employees and to report complaints of sex harassment made by Elks employees to the EEOC regional attorney for a period of three years

July 5, 2010

Restaurant Pays $170,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Chilbo Myunok USA LLC, a Korea-based food company which owns a Los Angeles restaurant and a chain of fast-food stores in Korea, pays $170,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of waitresses. According to published reports the waitresses were sexually harassed at the Chilbo Myunok restaurant and four of them were forced to quit to escape the harassment--this is commonly referred to as a constructive discharge. When the harassment gets too severe and a person can no longer work because of the harassment they are forced to quit and this is a separate discriminatory act that is compensatable.

Details of the lawsuit include the victims facing continuous verbal and physical sexual harassment from the restaurant's manager. The manager, who has since been fired, repeatedly subjected the women to sexual touching with a sexual device and to unwanted hugging and kissing. The EEOC many times will take up cases where there are more than one victim and they can get more bang for the buck. If there were only one waitress the chances are the EEOC would issue a right to sue letter and the waitress would be left to hire a private attorney to continue the lawsuit. In Illinois I prefer to file directly with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") which automatically cross-files with the EEOC. I believe the IDHR does a faster and more thorough job than the EEOC of investigating individual charges.

"By working with EEOC this way, Chilbo Myunok has clearly shown its commitment to making needed changes to policies and practices to ensure equal employment opportunities for all of Chilbo Myunok's employees," said EEOC's Perry.
June 30, 2010

PETCO Treats Employee Like A Dog And Now Pays $145,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

PETCO Animal Supplies Stores, Inc. pays $145,000 to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Nancy Buchner. Buchner had over 30 years as a pet groomer and was hired by PETCO, however the company failed to accommodate Buchner because she is deaf. Buchner claims management failed to schedule customers for her and other employees told potential customers that Buchner no longer worked for PETCO thereby making it impossible for her to make a living.

PETCO proceeded to unfairly penalize her during annual performance reviews for ineffective communication skills due to her inability to speak. Buchner quit the company after this type of behavior continued. When an employee is forced to quit because of discrimination it is called a constructive discharge. It is hard to imagion a company treating a good employee in this manner, perhaps that is why they paid so much money to settle this case. I hope PETCO instills a better training program for its employees and put in place better managers.

Olophius E. Perry EEOC attorney, said, “With the 20th anniversary of the ADA on the horizon, it is important to remember that employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations to ensure they have equal employment opportunities. Most often, as was the case here, the cost of accommodations is minimal.”

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June 29, 2010

Adecco Staffing Pays $12,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit

Adecco Staffing will pay $12,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a group of female workers. According to published accounts, a supervisor frequently made lewd and sexually offensive remarks to the female workers. He also allegedly rubbed himself against them, hugged them and slapped them on the buttocks.

The workers complained to Adecco officials but nothing was done to stop the sexual harassment. In fact, the company not only failed to intervene on their behalf but continued to assign female employees to work under the alleged harasser. Adecco then retaliated against one of the workers by firing her, while another was forced to quit because of the “ongoing and intolerable harassment. When a worker is forced to quit because of sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination it is known as a constructive discharge.

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June 27, 2010

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Yields $190,000 Settlement

EPI Advanced, LLD and Engineered Products Industries, LLC will pay $190,000 to settle a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Cathy Johnson. According to details of the allegations, both companies allowed Dean Miller and other male co-workers to sexually harass Johnson and seven other women. The women claimed that they were forced to put up with all types of sexually explicit comments and propositions.

Some of the woman claimed they were grabbed and touched by Miller. Several women quit because of the sexual harassment, which is referred to as constructive discharge. One woman quit her job after Miller phoned her at work threatening to sexually assault her in the employee parking lot. Although several complaints were made by victims to management, the company failed to properly investigate complaints and stop the misconduct. It is amazing that a company could let this type of behavior continue and do nothing to stop it. I bet the company is taking a different approach now.

Celia Liner, EEOC attorney, said, “The environment at EPI was simply intolerable. Women should be able to report to work and do their jobs without being subjected to harassment."
June 2, 2010

EEOC Settles Discrimination Lawsuit With Affordable Care For $150,000

Affordable Care coughs up $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two female employees. According to published documents Affordable Care violated federal law when its affiliated dentist, Nelson Wood, engaged in sexual harassment and racially harassed two female employees. The facts were that Wood created a sexually and racially hostile work environment for Ariede Mills, who is African American, and Laura Carl, who is white.

The lawsuit alleged Wood referred to women as “whining bitches,” propositioned Mills for sex, spanked Carl repeatedly on the buttocks, made insulting remarks about blacks, and claimed that he had a relative who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It is outrageous the a professional would act in this manner. Both Mills and Carl complained repeatedly about Wood to Affordable Care but the company failed to stop the harassment. To add fuel to the fire Mills was fired in retaliation for her complaints, and Carl was forced to quit because of the offensive conduct. Quitting because of that type of behavior is referred to as constructive discharge.

EEOC Attorney Markus L. Penzel said “The EEOC is pleased that Affordable Care worked cooperatively with us to resolve this case with minimal litigation."
May 22, 2010

Cactus Grill Sued For Sexual Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of Amanda Heschmeyer against Cactus Grill Inc. According to the lawsuit an assistant manager at the restaurant asked 18-year-old Heschmeyer for sex, touched her and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her. Those types of actions create a hostile work environment and because of that type of environment, Heschmeyer was forced to quit her job which is known as constructive discharge.

The assistant manager no longer works for Cactus Grill Inc. and that will be bad news for the Cactus. The reason it is bad news, is because since he no longer works for the company, he is in a position to tell the truth and not worry about losing his job, since he already lost it. Many times companies end up in a bad position because the person who did the sexual harassment gets terminated and becomes a good witness for the complainant.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is always wrong, but harassment of teenage workers, who are often in their first ‘real’ job, is even more egregious,” said James Neely, EEOC district director.


May 10, 2010

Car Dealer Pays $132,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Thomas Dodge paid $132,250 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of female employees who claimed offensive touching, degrading and sexually explicit comments and pornographic images. According to the lawsuit the females reported the sexual harassment and unprofessional conduct to management but no corrective action was taken. Some of the female employees who complained were terminated and others were forced to resign. Those would be examples of retaliation and constructive discharge.

It is amazing that so many women could come forward and complain and management would do nothing to stop the harassment. Management in this case even went a step further and punished the women for complaining.

May 8, 2010

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

Eagle Wings Indusdries which is an automotive supplier pays $428,500 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of three female employees. One of the female employees Kimberly Bridgman alleged comments directed at her were lewd and included a request for oral sex in exchange for a transfer. This type of sexual harassment is referred to as quid quo pro and is latin for 'this for that". Another words, the requesting party was asking for something in return for something.

You can see how expensive the bad behavior of an employee can be. It is extremely important that employers take sexual harassment complaints seriously and train employees properly on what behavior is acceptable in the workplace. In this case Bridgman took disability leave because of the sexual harassment and when she returned to work the conduct continued forcing her to take leave again. This time when she tried to return to work, Eagle Wings refused to reinstate her unless she agreed to undergo a battery of psychological examinations. At this point she claimed to be constructively discharged and filed the lawsuit. Constructive discharge occurs when the employer sets forth conditions which if aren't met require the employee to stay off work.

May 7, 2010

Bon Appetit to pay $22,500 in Settlement of Charge of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

A cashier and part-time cook at Bon Appetit alleged she was sexually harassed by her general manager Leslie Simmonds. She alleged the sexual harassment included being asked for sex, inappropriate comments and making her read a pornographic story he had written. The story was very detailed and very sexual. As a result of this behavior the female filed a sexual harassment complaint and settled her complaint for $22,500. The retaliation portion of her complaint arose after she rejected his sexual advances, and Simmonds retaliated by treating her poorly, and requested that she be transferred to his location.

She complained to Bon Appetit's district manager and provided a detailed account of the sexual harassment she had experienced. The district manager denied the harassment and stated that she had engaged in unacceptable behavior. Subsequently a raise she had been set to receive was revoked, and she was excluded from meetings. She resigned, believing that she had no choice and that her employer's treatment constituted a constructive discharge. It still amazes me that so many people in upper management take the approach of shooting the messenger instead of doing a proper investigation and resolving the problem. In this case Bon Appetit got off cheap.

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April 21, 2010

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

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

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

“The abuse suffered in this case is precisely the kind behavior that Title VII was enacted to stop” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC.
April 3, 2010

Auto Dealer Sued For Sexual Harassment

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

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

March 26, 2010

Kmart Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $120,000

Kmart Corporation pays $120,000 to settle an age discrimination, constructive discharge and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a 70-year-old pharmacist. According to details in the lawsuit, Kmart thought the pharmacist was too old and should retire. Kmart also said the pharmacist was greedy for wishing to work once she reached 70 years of age.

Kmart scheduled the pharmacist to work on Sunday even though they were aware she attended church and would not be able to work that day. This is a prime example of how coompanies try to set workers up for failure by asking them to do something they know they can't do in an attempt to come up with a reason to fire the worker. Kmart also threatened legal action against the pharmacist using a pretext on an unrelated matter to retaliate against her for her discrimination complaint. The pharmacist was forced to quit her position because of the harassment and this is referred to as constructive discharge.

“Instead of addressing this pharmacist’s legitimate complaints of age discrimination, Kmart made a bad situation worse by threatening her for complaining,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

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February 22, 2010

United States Post Offices Has Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Dismissed

The following federal case, 3:07-CV-410-H, illustrates how difficult it can be to prevail in a case of sexual harassment or constructive discharge. Shironda McCloud filed a claim against the United States Postal Service ("USPS") alleging sexual harassment and constructive discharge. Constructive discharge occurs when an employee quits their job but claims they had to quit because the working conditions were so unbearable that a reasonable person would not continue to work in those conditions. Constructive discharge differs from retaliation in that, the employee quits in a constructive discharge case whereas an employee is fired in a retaliation case--or the employee may be the subject of some other negative job action.

The allegations in the complaint were that McCloud began working for the USPS and her immediate supervior, Mr. Purifoy did the following over the course of two days: stared at Plaintiff; made comments that Plaintiff was beautiful; danced around Plaintiff in an awkward manner; told Plaintiff, "I'll give you Friday off if you go out to the club with me;" gave Plaintiff Thursday and Friday off and grabbed Plaintiff's wrist when she reached for her time card. The complaint was based on those six incidents over a two day period.

McCloud told management about what happened, they investigated and removed Purifoy from managing her. Over the next two months McCloud claims to have seen Purifoy at work a few times but that he never spoke to her and that he had no work control over her--yet she quit her job claiming she could not even look at him without feeling wierd. The court found that this did not rise to the level of constructive discharge.

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January 12, 2010

Crowell Pays $21,500 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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

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

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

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October 24, 2009

Napoli's Serving More Than Meatballs--Sued For Sexual Harassment

Napoli's Italian Restaurant, was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claiming minor female workers were sexually harassed while working at the restaurant. According to the lawsuit a female server and other female employees at the restaurant were subjected to sexual harassment in the form of lewd comments, propositions and touching. A specific incident listed occurred in early 2008, when the female server was only 17 years old. According to the EEOC release, male managers also allegedly subjected other female employees to “a campaign” of inappropriate behavior.

The lawsuit claims male managers allegedly detained the server who filed the original complaint in a restaurant office and turned out the lights. The female quit following the alleged incident because she feared for her safety. This is was in commonly referred to as constructive discharge.

“We received the charge of discrimination from a young woman who worked there and who claimed that she and other young female employees were subjected to sexual harassment,” said Baran, who was unable to say how many workers were allegedly harassed or if they were all minors at the time.
May 26, 2009

Damages In A Sexual Harassment Case

Although the title suggests damages in a sexual harassment case, these damages are also available in most discrimination cases.
1. Economic Damages--consist of back and front pay plus incidentals. Included in this calculation are benefits. Back pay is the amount of money equal to wages an employee would have earned, including all benefits from the date of discharge through the date of final judgment. Front pay is an amount of money equal to wages and benefits the employee will lose in the future because of a lower paying job or no job at all. Incidentals may be relocation costs, education costs for retraining and costs for tools if required at a new position.

2. Emotional Distress Damages--There is new specific formula for this calculation and there are many factors to consider including, the credibility of the employee, length of employment, believeability of witnesses, prior or pre-existing similar injuries, nature and extent of counseling or other medical treatment, and strength of the underlying case.

3. Punitive Damages--Under Title VII and ADA violations punitive damages may be awarded. In order to recover the employee must prove the employer engaged in a discriminatory practice or discriminatory practices with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the employee, but also that liability for the punitive damages should be imputed to the employer.

4. Attorneys' Fees--All federal anti discrimination statutes and those in Illinois provide for the recovery of attorney fees by the prevailing party. Discretion as to the amount is up to the Judge.

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April 1, 2009

Illinois Schnucks Employee Files Age Discrimination Lawsuit

Gary Rittenhouse had worked for the Belleville Schnucks Markets from Aug. 15, 1977, until his termination on May 15, 2007, according to the complaint filed Feb. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. Rittenhouse, 44, alleges he was wrongfully terminated from his employment as an assistant manager because of his age--which is age discrimination. Rittenhouse began working for the company as a bagger and eventually worked his way up to assistant manager.

Because of his termination, Rittenhouse lost income, suffered a diminution in his employability and suffered humiliation and severe emotional distress that required medical and professional treatment, according to the complaint, which is in St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-109.

"At the time of his termination, Rittenhouse was doing the job well enough to meet the employer's reasonable expectations," the suit states. "Rittenhouse was discharged in whole or in material part because of his age."

Rittenhouse is seeking a judgment in an amount that will fully compensate him, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems appropriate.

March 1, 2009

Former Educational Assistant is Suing Las Vegal School For Sexual Harassment

An unidentified woman in a recent lawsuit said a Las Vegas' Robertson High School computer technician requested sexual favors and the school district didn't do anything about it. Superintendent of schools Richard Romero said the former superintendent Pete Campos who is named in the lawsuit investigated the matter and the technician, Pete Garcia, was disciplined. The sexual harassment lawsuit also alleges Garcia drove the bus for the softball team and leered at girls while they were changing. Garcia still works for the school district.

This school district was the subject of a few other incidents of sexual harassment within the last year. After a summer football camp, six students were accused of sexually assaulting younger teammates. Not long after that two school employees were accused of separate sexual harassment incidents according to KOAT.com. In the most current lawsuit, the former educational assistant quit after being subjected to the sexual harassment and after the school did not stop it. This is called constructive discharge.

"All I can do is sit down with him and say you've been warned and if it happens again, you'll be terminated and we've had that conversation,” Romero said.

That response from Romero does not seem adequate enough for the woman who filed her sexual harassment claim. In Illinois sexual harassment at an educational institution, also known as school sexual harassment is Illegal. The educational institution is required to stop the sexual harassment when it becomes aware of the sexual harassment.

January 20, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against Film Producer in Chicago

A Illinois Sexual Harassment lawsuit was filed by Jill Sandmire the personal assistant to Emilio Ferrari who is the producer of the film Baby on Board, starring Heather Graham, John Corbett, Jerry O'Connell and Lara Flynn Boyle. According to the lawsuit, Ferrari repeatedly slapped her buttocks, groped her, asked her to massage his shoulders and back and told her she would look really hot if she got breast implants. Sandmire also said Ferrari asked her if she and other employees were at a strip club to obtain a stripper's phone number and asked her to buy condoms.

According to the sexual harassment lawsuit Sandmire claims she repeatedly told Ferrari to stop and that when she asked a production coordinator to transfer her to another department, Ferrari prevented it--thus creating a hostile work environment. Sandmire was fired shortly after and believes it is the result of retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment and for refusing to accept the advances of Ferrari.

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December 15, 2008

Survey of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") Cases

The EEOC in the last ten years has been active in pursuing claims against employers who sexually harass or otherwise discriminate against employees. Below is a survey of the dollar amounts employees have been awarded in cases brought by the EEOC.
In 2007, companies paid more than $65 million in prelitigation EEOC settlements alone.

EEOC v. Parmalat Bakery Division of North America, Defendant, a New Jersey division of an international company headquartered in Italy, was charged wtih sexual harassment, retaliation, and constructive discharge. The complainant was a sales division manager and the only woman in an office of four male executives. She was subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, sexually explicit comments inappropriate touching and the showing of a pornographic video. She was awarded $300,000. Case resolved in 2004.

Kosen v. American Express Financial Advisors, Inc., A group of female financial advisors alleged that American Express Financial Advisors, Inc.engaged in preferential treatment of male advisors in mentoring, promotion, compensation, and work assignments in violation of federal law.

This was a class action lawsuit in which it is alleged that they experienced gender and/or age discrimination including, but are not limited to, career advancement, failure to hire as a Financial Advisor, distribution of leads and accounts, work assignments, promotion. They were awarded $31 million dollars. Case resolved in 2002.

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September 2, 2008

Constructive Discharge

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders, 124 S. Ct. 2342 (2004) that in a constructive discharge case, the plaintiff's resignation is an appropriate response to intolerable working conditions.

An employee may be constructively discharged if she resigns because of intolerable working conditions caused by sexual harassment. In order to prove constructive discharge the plaintiff must show:

  • Defendant intention to make the plaintiff's working conditions intolerable;
  • Defendant subjected plaintiff to sexual harassment; and
  • The plaintiff was forced to quit because the defendant's sexual harassment created the intolerable working conditions.