July 6, 2012

Best Western Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $365,000

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

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

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

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June 13, 2012

H & E Equipment Services Inc. Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $125,000

H&E Equipment Services, Inc., pays $125,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was first filed by the Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit alleged that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to promote and then laying off a female supervisor because of her gender. It is illegal to treat someone different based on their gender and it will always result in a lawsuit.

According to published documents in the case a branch manager offered a male employee a rental manager position that he denied to Kathleen Wooten, the rental supervisor. In doing so, the branch manager said that he didn’t think women could be managers in the construction industry. Wooten then complained of gender discrimination to management and was laid off and replaced by a male employee.

“Unfortunately, there are too many industries in which too many people don’t get the simple but crucial principle of equality between the sexes,” said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O’Neill
June 7, 2012

Chapman University Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $175,000

Chapman University pays $175,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Lynn Hamrick. According to published accounts of the lawsuit, Hamrick was an assistant professor for over ten years. Her basic allegation is that she was denied tenure because she is a woman.

To prove her case she was able to show that she was qualified and that male counterparts were given tenure while she wasn't. Cases like this usually come down to facts that exist in personnel files. This type of behavior is troubling for a university that is suppose to be enlightened and fair. You can see by the large settlement amount that the university realized it was wrong.

“Sex discrimination is the third most frequent type of complaint we see across the country,” said EEOC attorney Olophius Perry
May 7, 2012

$260,000 Paid By Health Management Group, Inc. To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Health Management Group, Inc. ("HMG") pays $260,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of Krishna McCollins and Donna Davidson. Both of the female workers were directors of franchise development. The problem for the female workers was they were paid less than a male who performed substantially equal work for HMG. It is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to treat men and women different regarding pay and terms of employment.

n addition to paying this large sum of money the company will have to provide for training for all of HMG’s employees, managers, and supervisors on employee rights and employers’ obligations under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. In addition HMG must post an anti-discrimination notice to all employees. This is typically what happens are part of the settlement process. You can see why it is in the best interest of the company to settle prior to the employee filing a complaint with the EEOC.

“The EEOC will not tolerate discriminatory pay practices,” said EEOC attorney Debra Lawrence.
March 31, 2012

Cadillac Jack Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $87,500

Cadillac Jack, Inc. pays $87,200 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Tracey Tucker. According to information published on the EEOC website, Cadillac Jack fired Tracey Tucker, an African-American, from her position as contracts manager in retaliation for her complaining about racial discrimination and gender discrimination.

Tucker was terminated one day after lodging the discrimination complaint. Talk about a stupid policy. Most companies at least have the sense to wait a little while before firing an employee after they complain about discrimination. By firing her so soon after she complained about discrimination, the company made a pretty obvious statement. It is troubling that companies don't take discrimination complaints in a more serious fashion. I am glad the EEOC was able to obtain such a large settlement.

“The EEOC filed this lawsuit in large part due to the timing of the complaint and termination,” said EEOC attorney Robert Dawkins
March 8, 2012

Gerrescheimer Peachtree City Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $90,000

Gerresheimer Peachtree City pays $90,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The retaliation lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of former employee Donna McLeod. According to published accounts Peachtree terminated McLeod from her position as a quality assurance manager in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. If you file a charge with the EEOC or in Chicago the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") you are protected from firing based on filing that charge.

This initially started when McLeod complained to human resources about gender discrimination based on unequal wages. This is called unequal terms and conditions of employment. There was an internal investigation and the company concluded there was no discrimination. Hearing of this finding McLeod filed a charge with the EEOC. Within six weeks of receiving notice of the discrimination charge filed with the EEOC, Peachtree terminated McLeod for purportedly misusing leave time. This was used as a pretext to fire McLeod. The alleged real reason for his firing was that he filed a complaint with the EEOC.

“All too often employers look for any opportunity to fire employees who exert their rights under federal civil rights law,” said EEOC Attorney Robert Dawkins.
February 27, 2012

Piggly Wiggly Pays $40,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Piggly Wiggly pays $40,000 to settle a racial discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of multiple people. In this case the gender discrimination involved men not being hired for cashier positions. This would seem to be a reverse type of discrimination. It is important to remember that neither gender can be discriminated against.

According to published accounts Piggly Wiggly locations owned by MWR Enterprises Inc. maintained policies and practices that intentionally failed to hire African-Americans because of their race. This is very troubling and it is hard to believe this type of activity still takes place. Additionally the company maintained a segregated work force. Wow, can you say take a trip in the time machine. Someone should tell these folks the year is 2012.

“The law is clear – employers may not refuse to hire applicants based on their race or gender,” “The EEOC will continue to ensure that such barriers to employment are removed.” said EEOC attorney Faye Williams
January 4, 2012

Proving Gender Discrimination In Chicago

You have been working hard and putting in the extra effort. You apply for the vacant supervisors job and you seem like a lock for it. You have the right education, work experience and you do the job now when the supervisor is out on vacation. But you don't get the job and what's worse a man who is less qualified and less educated gets it. You can't believe it and don't know what to do next. Well the good news is in illinois you can file a complaint of gender discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). They are the agency that is tasked with investigating complaints of discrimination in Chicago.

So what do you need to prove gender discrimination? Well it is very rare that you will have actual evidence of direct discrimination. That is, that management will write a memo saying don't hire any women for the job. So what is needed is what's called indirect evidence. You will show your qualifications, your education and the qualifications of the person who received the job. Other than your gender what was different? Did other men apply for the job and reach the next level of interviews? Does the company have a pattern of hiring only females for management positions? If the case makes it to litigation and you can take depositions or get the notes of the people doing the interview, are there negative comments about a bad interview or were they positive. These are just a few of the items you need to prove your case. Speaking with an experience attorney who practices in front of the IDHR would be your best bet in winning your case of gender discrimination.

December 13, 2011

Should I File At The Illinois Human Rights Commission Or Circuit Court?

My Chicago office has many cases of discrimination at the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The discrimination case may involve sexual harassment, gender discrimination, religion, sexual orientation to name just a few. So what happens after the IDHR investigator finds substantial evidence of the discrimination? Well there are several options at that point. We could file a complaint directly with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC") or you can file a complaint in the local circuit court where the discrimination occurred. So which venue should you file your sexual harassment complaint or other discrimination complaint?

The answer for most cases is the IHRC. One major factor in filing with the IHRC is the cost. There is no cost in filing at the IHRC. Additionally, in my opinion the case will work its' way to trial at a faster pace than filing in the local circuit court. The downside in filing at the IHRC is you can't have a jury trial. All cases filed at the IHRC are heard by an administrative law judge. Remember the goal of any case is to get money in your pocket. Having a good negotiator on your side maximizing your settlement is key.

September 6, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Can't Be Based on General Harassment

I get many calls at my Chicago office about general harassment type questions. The boss yells at everyone or the boss is always slamming things around the office. In short, people call and say the boss is just an ass. The problem in Illinois is there is no general harassment law. People think that if the boss acts this way it is the basis of a hostile work environment. In Illinois it is not. In order to have a hostile work environment you need a basis of discrimination. For example, the boss is yelling at me because I am female--gender discrimination, or the boss is yelling at me because I am black--racial discrimination. If the boss is just a jerk, there is no case. Your only option at that point is to quit. The legislature tried to pass a law that would have covered this type of behavior but it failed.

What I suggest you do is evaluate whether or not there is some other reason why the boss is always yelling at you or throwing things. Is it because you are female? Are you the only person in your office that this is happening to ? So even though it may seem like he is just being a jerk, perhaps he is really discriminating against you based on a protected category. It is free to call my office and discuss the issue so why not ? You should work hard to protect your rights and not let the boss get away with this type of behavior.

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August 25, 2011

Forrest City Grocery Company Pays $125,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Forrest City Grocery Company will pay $125,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The gender discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of employee Amanda McMillan who was denied a sales position because she was female. This type of behavior is against the law and will result in a lawsuit every time. The EEOC is very vigilant about this type of activity and as you can see by the large settlement amount, they make companies pay when they engage in this type of behavior.

Details in the lawsuit allege the company told McMillan the job of a salesman was too dangerous for a woman, and that she would not be a good mother if she were on the road meeting customers. Apparently McMillan was also paid less money than her male counterparts. It is hard to believe people in leadership positions still make comments like this. The EEOC was able to settle this quickly and McMillan received a nice payday.

“Women make valuable contributions to the work force, yet they are too often denied opportunities at work based on gender stereotypes and old-fashioned ideas about a woman’s proper place,” said EEOC attorney Delner Franklin-Thomas.
August 23, 2011

3M Pays $3 Million To Settle Age Discrimination Lawsuit

3M pays $3 million to a class of former employees to settle a nationwide age discrimination lawsuit, The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of hundreds of employees over the age of 45 during a series of reductions in force from July 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2006. As is typical with big companies 3M laid off many highly paid older employees to save money. Employees give the most productive years of their lives to big companies and then they get the ax. This is a horrible way to treat workers. Treating a worker different based on age violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("AEDA") and will result in a claim of age discrimination.

The lawsuit also alleged that older employees were denied leadership training and laid off to make way for younger leaders. During discovery in the lawsuit the EEOC uncovered an employee e-mail describing then-CEO Jim McNerney’s “vision for leadership development” as “we should be developing 30 year olds with General Manager potential” and “He wants us to tap into the youth as participants in the leadership development.” These were all code words for get rid of the old workers and hire new younger ones. Well the EEOC did not give up and held the companies feet to the fire. A settlement this large should send a signal to other would be discriminating companies.

“The law requires employers to base employment decisions upon each person’s strengths and talents instead of relying upon generalized assumptions calculated around an employee’s age,” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado.

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August 15, 2011

Are Rude Comments A Hostile Work Environment?

My Chicago offices gets many calls regarding a hostile work environment. Many callers ask if there is a hostile work environment based on the boss yelling at them or otherwise treating them poorly. Unfortunately in Illinois there is no general harassment law. Another words, in order to have a hostile work environment in Illinois there must be an underlying basis of discrimination. So for example if you are the subject of sexual harassment then there could be a creation of a hostile work environment.

However if the boss is just a jerk and yells and screams there isn't much you can do about it. Unless the boss is treating you different because of your gender or race or other protected class you just have to take it. Perhaps in the future the legislature will pass a general harassment law but until they do, there isn't one. However, sometimes after talking to employees I can determine that the boss is picking on the person and perhaps the person is the only female at work so perhaps it is really a gender discrimination case. The bottom line is to speak with an employment attorney.

August 11, 2011

MV Transportation Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $35,000

MV Transportation settled a gender discrimination lawsuit today that was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts two former female bus cleaners alleged that they were treated differently and ultimately terminated due to their gender. The fact that the company settled this case early and for a low amount suggests the facts may not have been the greatest to move forward. In cases like gender discrimination many times comparisions must be done with male workers to show a bias.

In Illinois there is a rise in general on discrimination cases including gender discrimination. The workforce is so tight and scared right now that many employees believe they have to put up with discrimination because they fear for their jobs. It is very important that people still stand up for their rights and don't get pushed around.

“MV Transportation is to be commended for agreeing to substantial injunctive relief and we hope other employers will take similar proactive action,” said EEOC attorney Anna Y. Park.
July 30, 2011

Bank Of West Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $48,000

Bank of the West pays $48,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed in a very short period of time after the filing--just five days. Usually when a company settles quickly, they are acknowledging they were wrong and want to put the matter behind them. It is always nice to see a company take responsibility. The company also saved a good deal in attorney fees by settling the gender discrimination lawsuit early.

According to published accounts Bank of the West refused to hire a woman for the position of branch manager of its Quail Creek branch because of her gender-female. Although the managers with hiring authority acknowledged that she was the best-qualified candidate for the job, they claimed they denied her the job because she stated she needed two weeks before starting to make child care arrangements. You cannot take an adverse action against a person based on gender and in this case that is what happened.

“Over 45 years after the passage of Title VII, discrimination against women in the workplace continues to be a problem,” said EEOC Attorney Barbara Seely. “Corporate America must be more vigilant in guarding against job bias affecting female workers or risk action and exposure by the EEOC.”

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July 21, 2011

Mason County Forest Products Pays $900,000 To Settle A Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Mason County Forest Products will pay $900,000 to two female workers to settle a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female workers after settlement efforts failed . According to published reports, the two women were subjected to widespread hostility, and that upper management at the mill chose to ignore the harassment.

In a really troubling admission upper management allegedly said

“Boys will be boys.”

When upper management makes those types of comments it is easy to see why the people under them feel they can do as they please. The supervisor for the women made it clear that he did not want women on his crew, using demeaning comments, physical intimidation and verbal threats. In a very eye opening and unbelievable admission the lawsuit alleged male employees targeted their female co-workers with lewd comments and gestures, displayed sex toys and pornography. I am glad the women stood up and made the company do the right thing. Good things happen when you fight for your rights.

“I stood up for myself and, ultimately, through this process, for other women,” said Debbie Berntsen, one of the two discrimination victims. “Companies like this need to know that they can’t allow women to be treated this way in any workplace.”
July 14, 2011

Bell Company Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $230,000

The Bell Company pays $230,000 to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Elaine Cusato. According to published accounts the Bell Company subjected Cusato to a hostile work environment while she was employed as a skilled equipment operator. The EEOC said that Cusato was subjected to daily criticism by her supervisor, the plumbing crew foreman, with a vehemence, aggression and profanity that was not directed at male workers which would be the basis for her gender discrimination lawsuit.

When mechanical foreman Timothy Shultz refused to fire Cusato solely because she was considered a “troublemaker” for complaining about the gender discrimination, both were fired as retaliation. This type of activity is not acceptable and will result in a lawsuit every time. I am glad Mr. Shultz stood up and refused to follow the company line. The company should change the way it does business and the way it treats employees.

“Employers have a responsibility to maintain an environment free of gender-based harassment and retaliation, which are clearly and simply illegal,” said EEOC Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
June 27, 2011

Duquesne University Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Duquesne University has settled two gender discrimination lawsuits filed by members of its School of Law faculty. Former associate dean Vanessa Browne-Barbour alleged that University officials discriminated against her based on racial discrimination and gender discrimination when they declined to consider her for the interim dean position. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, which is common in these types of cases.

The second lawsuit was filed by Former clinical law teacher Alice Stewart. She filed a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the University. She alleged the current Dean Ken Gormley reduced her pay, demoted her and moved her to an office outside the law school building in retaliation for a sexual harassment claim she filed against him in 2006. Retaliation occurs when a negative job action results after you file a claim of discrimination. You can see how long these cases can last and the best thing to do usually is to try and settle.

"We have resolved their differences and Ms. Stewart is leaving to pursue other interests. The university wishes her well." Statement issued by the University.
June 15, 2011

Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation Pays $60,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation, pays $60,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed on behalf for Kathryn Class who was not given the proper training solely based on her gender. According to published accounts Class was not trained like the male counter parts and therefore she was not able to be promoted to a yardmaster position.

Norfolk removed Class from yardmaster training and replaced her with a less qualified male employee, claiming that it removed her from the training based on its policy prohibiting individuals from directly or indirectly supervising, or being supervised by, a relative. Of course this was ridiculous and the basis on the lawsuit. I think the amount paid should be a good indication as to what really took place.

“The EEOC will take action when employers use company policies or practices to deprive women of equal training and employment opportunities,” said EEOC attorney Spencer H. Lewis, Jr.
June 12, 2011

What Is A Hostile Work Environment?

My office in Chicago gets this question often-what is a hostile work environment in Illinois? There are two types of hostile work environments. First, there is what is called a quid pro quo which is Latin and means this for that. In essence, if the boss says have sex with me and I will let you keep your job. This type of hostile work environment happens in sexual harassment cases. The second type is a culmination of acts the violate one of the categories of discrimination. For example people at work keep looking at porn and you keep seeing it on the computer screens. Or you are the subject of sexual commenets at work. These activities would create a hostile work environment.

Right now in Illinois there is no general harassment law or bullying law. Which means that the hostile work environment can only be claimed if it is based on acts that violate the Illinois Human Rights Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Bascially, there has to be some category of discrimination that is violated--like sexual harassment or gender discrimination. If you are unsure of whether or not you have a legitimate case, you should contact my office to get an opinion. It is very important to do so early because there are strict time limits for filing claims and if you miss them, your case is lost.

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."
June 1, 2011

Longs Drugs a/k/a/ CVS Caremark Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $55,000

Longs Drugs a/k/a CVS Caremark pays $55,000 to settle a gender discrimination, retaliation and racial discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Marcia Guaman an African-American female buyer. According to details which have become public, Guaman was treated different from colleagues who were not black or female. As an example given in the lawsuit Guaman received verbal and written warnings for her performance numbers, while white female co-workers with lower scores did not face any disciplinary action.

Additional odd behavior by the company included Guaman’s requests for vacation days being denied, even though she asked prior to white co-workers who were granted vacation for the same dates. Guaman was discharged from her position a few months after she raised the differential treatment to human resources which is the basis of the retaliation charge. Many times it isn't a company policy to discriminate but rather the actions of a manager. This underscores how important it is to properly train employees and members of management.


“Employers should guard against bias creeping in to distort company policies, and training staff is an important preventive measure,” said EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo.

May 26, 2011

Chrysler Group Pays $60,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Chrysler Group, LLC pays $60,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Chrysler’s second-shift supervisor at the Milwaukee facility removed one of the women from the coveted position of driving a power sweeper and assigned her to gather parts in the back order release area. A male with less seniority was placed in the position which would go against normal policy. The female questioned why this was taking place as it seemed to be a form of gender discrimination. The manager called the female a troublemaker and threatened to fire her--which is retaliation.

Retaliation for opposing gender discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The female worker stuck up for her rights and would not let the company push her around. You can tell by the settlement amount that the company realized it made a mistake and wanted to put this matter behind it. This type of activity also creates a hostile work environment for all workers and can hinder production. Hopefully better processes and training will be in place for the future and employees can have a discrimination free work place.

said EEOC attorney John Hendrickson “Any adverse job action that might deter an employee from pursuing his or her rights is unlawful. Title VII protects employees who oppose discrimination even when their complaints do not take the form of an EEOC charge or written grievance."
May 13, 2011

Hyundai Ideal Electric Company Pays $188,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Hyundai Ideal Electric Company ("HIEC") coughs up $188,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a female drafter, Tabitha Wagner. According to accounts which have been made public, Wagner was an experienced drafter and was hired for a job preparing drawings and sketches for batteries and engines. The problem was she was being paid a lower salary than that of a similarly situated male who was hired only months later. Wagner did what most would consider the right thing. She brought the disparity to the attention of the human resources manager, and was subsequently fired as retaliation for complaining.

This type of activity is so tranparent and isn't fooling anyone. It amazes me that companies still behavior like this. Why didn't they just bring her pay in line with her male counterpart? I am glad she stuck up for herself and filed a complaint with the EEOC. In Illinois you can also file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and that organization will cross file with the EEOC.

“The EEOC will not tolerate discriminatory pay practices,” said Debra Lawrence, EEOC attorney.
April 30, 2011

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

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

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

“Employers must be careful not to apply stereotypes against women based on perceptions that they must always be the primary caregivers and therefore are unreliable employees.” said EEOC attorney Lynette Barnes
April 6, 2011

United States Supreme Court Expands Workplace Protection

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

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

The Court said "it was obvious that a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from engaging in protected activity if she knew that her fiance would be fired."
April 5, 2011

Jackson Public Schools Settles Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit

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

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

April 2, 2011

College Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $20,000

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

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

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

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March 22, 2011

Wild Beaver Saloon Sued For Pregnancy Discrimination

The Wild Beaver Saloon is being sued for pregnancy discrimination because it unlawfully fired a female bartender/server because of her pregnancy. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after settlement talks broke down. Employers have to be mindful that once an employee gets pregnant, she just can't be fired for that reason. I am glad this female did not just go along with the program and instead filed a complaint with the EEOC.

In a case like this it is not uncommon to seek compensatory and punitive damages as well as a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in any employment practice that discriminates against any employee. Over 90% of cases end up settling prior to trial so there is a good chance this case will settle as well. Many times along with filing a complaint of pregnancy discrimination there will be corresponding complaints of gender discrimination and retaliation.

“Employees who become pregnant should not lose their jobs because of their condition,” said EEOC attorney Laurie A. Young
March 15, 2011

Indiana Health Center Pays $45,000 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Indiana Health Center pays $45,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts a female dental hygienist was fired because of her pregnancy and because she was scheduled to go on leave within days of her termination. This also became a case involving gender because men were treated different and therefore she suffered gender discrimination.

With a tight job market, more employers believe they can discard employees who are pregnant and just hire someone else. This case should set an example to employers that if they treat pregnant women different than other employees they may have to pay the price. This is a good illustration of what happens when you discriminate against an employee.

“Pregnancy discrimination continues to rise at an alarming rate,” said EEOC Attorney Laurie Young.
March 7, 2011

Television Station Settles Age and Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $45,000

KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City will pay $45,000 to settle a racial discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Phyllis Williams. According to published accounts, Williams, a veteran African-American anchor was paid lower wages than comparable white female reporters and male reporters of all races. Williams was also subjected to unequal terms and conditions of employment.

Usually it is difficult to prove racial discrimination because people don't just come out and make racial comments. Instead, you need evidence that shows an unequal treatment and pay difference that can only be explained by a difference in race or gender. I am glad Ms. Williams hung in there and fought for her rights.

“This decree will remind KOKH Channel 25, Sinclair and all news organizations to treat their employees equally as required by law, including women and people of color, who traditionally have been the victims of job discrimination,” said Barbara Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Oklahoma. “The notice posting and training required by the consent decree will go far in educating the station’s managers on their employees’ right to work in an environment free of race and sex discrimination.”

February 9, 2011

EEOC Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Presrite Corp.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Presrite Corporation claiming it engaged in a pattern of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of female applicants for certain jobs. The lawsuit says Presrite rejected women for laborer and operative jobs because of their gender since at least 2005.

In gender discrimination lawsuits proof of the discrimination usually lies in comparing males and females regarding their hiring, pay, promotions and discipline. In this case, the EEOC will look at the qualifications and reasons why the females were not hired.

“Title VII makes sex discrimination in employment clearly and plainly illegal,” said EEOC Attorney Debra Lawrence
January 31, 2011

Blythe Amenson Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $400,000

Blythe Amenson the former Argentine Township fire lieutenant settled her sexual harassment lawsuit with the Township for $400,000. According to published accounts she alleged sexual harassment by a former township fire chief and that the township engaged in gender discrimination once she reported the conduct. She alleged former Fire Chief William Harvey continuously made inappropriate gestures and comments toward her, such as complimenting her figure, offering her a hug and asking about her sexual relations with her husband.

Amenson worked for the fire department for a little more than two-years and was dismissed by the township for having a low fire-run count. The problem with that theory was a male firefighter had the same low fire-run count and he was not fired. This was utilized as the basis for showing the township was treating her different because she was a female and because she reported sexual harassment.

January 19, 2011

EEOC Says Firefighter Sexually Harassed

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") completed its investigation and found a female Houston firefighter was subjected to a hostile work environment based on gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. According to published accounts firefighter Jane Draycott found sexual slurs scrawled on her locker after she complained about workplace conditions. The fire department has denied allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation and the fire department has been unable to find those responsible.

In this case Draycott is not only fighting the city but also the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association ("HPFFA"). The HPFFA is criticizing the EEOC's investigation saying not enough firefighters were interviewed. You would think the union would rally around one of its members when she is being treated in a discriminatory manner. I am glad the EEOC is sticking around and not letting this type of behavior stand. My guess is both parties will want to settle the case at this point and a settlement is probably near.

"There is reasonable cause to believe that the charging party was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her gender and was retaliated against for engaging in a protected activity," the EEOC said.
January 14, 2011

Cover Girls Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $60,000

Cover Girls, a company engaged in adult business settles an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of waitress Mary Bassi. Published documents in the lawsuit indicated the EEOC alleged Cover Girls violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") by harassing and ultimately firing a waitress because of her age. For its part Cover Girls’ management began hiring younger female waitresses and scheduling them for shifts in place of Bassi, despite the fact that she was performing her duties well and had received no recent disciplinary actions.

Allegedly two male managers at Cover Girls, both in their 30s, began harassing and discriminating against Mary Bassi, who was in her 50s, because of her age. The ADEA protects workers who are over the age of forty. The lawsuit goes on to claim that these managers referred to Bassi as old and made other negative comments about her age, including telling her she was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Bassi worked for the company for 13 years prior to being fired. This case could also have been filed based on gender discrimination because Bassi was being singled out because of her gender as well.

“Age discrimination cannot and will not be tolerated in any business or industry no matter what sector they occupy,” said EEOC attorney James Sacher.
January 10, 2011

Fulton County Illinois Treasurer Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Fulton County Illinois Treasurer Victoria Harper filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination and is seeking to recover lost wages and collect damages in excess of $750,000 from the county. According to published accounts, Harper's salary was set by the board at $58,300 and frozen for the next four years. However, both the Fulton County Clerk and Fulton County Circuit Clerk were both given increases over the same period. Harper is also alleging that various men in management positions treated her in a hostile fashion by yelling at her and making unreasonable demands.

According to the lawsuit demands were made of Harper that were not made of other individuals and that fell outside of the scope of her position. In a case like this, Harper will have to show that she is being treated differently than others because she is a female. The other two clerks in this case are both females which in my opinion will make the issue harder to prove. From what was alleged it sounds like the conduct of the men who yelled at Harper could have also amounted to a hostile work environment.

December 17, 2010

The EEOC Has Record Number of Discrimination Claims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") said it received a record 99,922 charges in FY 2010, the highest number of charges in the agency’s 45-year history. The EEOC secured more than $319 million in monetary benefits for individuals which represents the highest level of relief obtained through administrative enforcement in the EEOC’s history. It is clear the EEOC is stepping up enforcement of discrimination throughout the country.

In Illinois if you are the victim of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, or many of the other types of discrimination that create a hostile work environment, you can contact my office to file a charge with the EEOC or the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") which automatically cross-files with the EEOC. I prefer to file with the IDHR because they have fewer cases and more staff to handle the cases. Also the state route in my opinion is a much faster way to proceed and have your case resolved. The EEOC does a good job, but just not as good as the IDHR when it comes to a speedy resolution.

“The EEOC is on the path toward rebuilding and on track to make further progress in the upcoming fiscal year to more efficiently and effectively enforce the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.

Continue reading "The EEOC Has Record Number of Discrimination Claims" »

December 12, 2010

Denver Hotel Management Company Pays $105,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Denver Hotel Management Company pays $105,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC alleged the company refused to promote a single mother because she had children. According to published documents the woman was denied promotion to a newly created position of assistant human resource director because of her caregiver responsibilities as the mother of two young children, and the job was given to a less qualified and less experienced employee.

The reason give by management was that the woman was being passed over for the job because of her role as a mother of young children, asserting that she could not relocate or work the required 50-60 hour work week because she had a full-time job at home with her children. It is not appropriate or legal to assume just beacuse someone is a single mother they can't do the job. Because woman are affected more by this type of behavior, it falls under the category of gender discrimination.

“Making assumptions about a woman’s ability to perform a job which are not grounded in fact, but instead on stereotyped assumptions about her inability to work long hours due to her child care responsibilities, is unlawful discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Mary Jo O’Neill.
November 11, 2010

Guardsmark Pays $52,500 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Guardsmark LLC pays $52,500 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Danielle Jones and other female guards. According to published accounts Jones was not treated like the males guards because the company listened to customer preferences for male security guards and reassigned Jones and the other female guards to inconvenient, lesser-paying security guard posts.

Even though the company is in business to make money and to serve the needs of its' clients, the company may not engage in discriminatory conduct. This type of behavior is illegal and will end up costing the company cash and goodwill. It is very important to contact an employment lawyer if you believe you are the victim of discrimination in Illinois. This type of behavior can also create a hostile work environment and make the employees life miserable.

“This settlement serves as reminder to businesses that a customer’s preference to be staffed or served by workers of a particular gender is never an excuse to engage in illegal sex discrimination,” said EEOC attorney Jim Sacher.
November 1, 2010

Northern Illinois Based Maxwell House Sued For Gender Discrimination

The Maxwell House Coffee headquartered in Northern Illinois is being sued for gender discrimination for subjecting a female employee at its Jacksonville, Fla., coffee plant to discriminatory terms and conditions. The company allegedly also disciplined and terminated Francena Smith on the basis of her gender. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Smith. According to published accounts Smith was disciplined more harshly that her male co-workers when they were involved in incidents where coffee was damaged, and was then fired because of her gender.

An arbitrator ordered Smith reinstated in March 2010, however she did not receive any monetary damages. This can happen with arbitration and it does not affect the ongoing litigation. It puts the company in a tough spot because they are being sued by a person who is working for them. This also can create a hostile work environment and can be tricky for the person who was just ordered back to work.

“Subjecting a person to different standards and discipline simply because of the person’s gender is just plain wrong,” said EEOC Acting District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas.
October 18, 2010

Forrest City Grocery Sued For Gender Discrimination

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

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

“Remarkably, some employers still believe women should be excluded from certain types of work simply because of their gender,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, EEOC attorney. “This is not just bad business, it is illegal.”
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 16, 2010

Plastics Manufacturer Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $170,000

Polycon Industries, a plastics product manufacturer pays $170,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed by the EEOC on behalf of female employees who were not getting promoted to production positions which earn more money.

According to the allegations in the lawsuit Polycon illegally considered gender when placing new hires into entry-level positions, to the detriment of female new hires, who were overwhelmingly placed into lower-paying entry-level jobs. In cases like this the documents available through human resources can make or break the case. Either the evidence will show discrimination or it won't--in this case it obviously did.

“Despite the Commission’s 45-year existence, some employers still make the mistake of basing job placement decisions on gender, said EEOC Attorney Laurie Young.
September 14, 2010

Television Station Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

A gender discrimination and age discrimination lawsuit against television station KMBC has been settled. The lawsuit was filed by Kelly Eckerman, Peggy Breit and Maria Albisu-Twyman alleging a pattern of discrimination and harassment of veteran female reporters. According to documents filed in the lawsuit the station’s atmosphere has transformed over time, from one of cooperation into a hostile work environment, permeated with threats, intimidation and disrespect.

The lawsuit paints a pretty nasty picture for the work environment at KMBC. Another claim in the lawsuit was that even unaffected newsroom employees have commented about the publicly humiliating and degrading treatment of women over 40. Sounds like KMBC has a lot of work to do internally. It is unusual for a high profile television show to have these sorts of employment issues. The three woman in this case stood up for their rights and didn't back down to the big corporation. The details of the settlement are unknown but the woman continue to work at the station.

A statement issued by KMBC described the resolution as “amicable” and said that it had come “after some open and frank conversation” between the women and station management.
September 11, 2010

Applebee's Sued For Gender Discrimination By The EEOC

Applebee’s is being sued for gender discrimination for denying a promotion to a qualified female employee. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and alleges Amanda Antisdel worked as a server for Applebee’s and throughout her employment at Applebee’s, Antisdel excelled as a server. When she learned of an upcoming open bartender position she immediately informed the restaurant’s bar manager of her interest in the position. The bar manager assured Antisdel that as soon as the job became open she would be selected. The bar manager also permitted Antisdel to train behind the bar with the other bartenders for about three weeks.

A few weeks later she learned that Applebee’s recruited a less qualified male for the open bartending position and placed him in the position. Although Antisdel met all the qualifications for the position and was the most qualified person for the position and had more seniority than the male employee, the company recruited and selected him because Applebee’s wanted a straight male behind the bar. This type of activity is illegal, if proven and will cost Applebee's some cash.

“Denying a person a promotion because of her sex is unjust and unlawful,” said Lynette A. Barnes, EEOC attorney.
August 27, 2010

Allegiance Industries Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $25,000

Allegiance Industries pays $25,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Brenda Lowery. Lowery was a female cleaning team supervisor and she was fired because the district manager wanted a male supervisor at the cleaning site where she worked. This type of behavior is against the law and is referred to as gender discrimination.

Many times even though a company will not come right out and say we are firing you because you are a female and we want a male worker, the evidence will show that is the case. For example if you are a good worker and you are replaced by a male, there isn't much else that could be going on. In other instances gender harassment or discrimination can take the form of creating a hostile work environment. In both cases, it is important to seek legal help and fight for your rights.

“Firing someone simply because of her gender is unjust and unlawful, plain and simple,” said EEOC Attorney Robert K. Dawkins.
July 28, 2010

Area Temps Pays $650,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Area Temps will pay $650,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The discrimination lawsuit is based on age discrimination, gender discrimination, racial discrimination and national origin discrimination. It is rare to find a lawsuit that is sucessful and allegeding all four categories.

According to published accounts of the lawsuit Area Temps unlawfully complied with discriminatory requests made by its clients based on race, sex, national origin and age, and unlawfully fired two of its employees in retaliation for their opposition to Area Temps’ discriminatory practices. The company also fired one employee for participation in the EEOC’s investigation. The company that made the request of Area Temp for the discriminatory practices should also be held accountable.

“The EEOC is pleased that Area Temps joined with the agency to negotiate a fair settlement resolving this matter,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.
July 13, 2010

Transgender Woman Wins Discrimination Lawsuit

Vandy Glenn a transgender woman won a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Georgia General Assembly, after she was fired because she started to transition from male to female. Glenn, was hired as editor of the State Office of Legislative Counsel five years ago and a year after she was hired, she decided to change from a male to a female. She was terminated from her position after Sewell Brumby, the director of the office said he worried how other people would react. This could have been a retaliation lawsuit because she was fired in retaliation for not conforming to the illegal views of her supervisors.

I would like to congratulate Glenn on her victory and on hanging tough and protecting her rights. Getting fired while you continue to do a great job is unconscionable. It amazes me that some organizations still live in the stone age and can't quite get their brains around the idea that not all people are the same. This country was built on individuals rights and allowing people the freedom to live how they choose within the law. Vandy Glenn by all accounts was a great worker and deserved to be treated much better than this. I am glad she is getting her just rewards. The court will be holding a damages hearing later and I hope her bank account gets full.

Sewell Brumby said that "lawmakers would view her transition as immoral."


July 12, 2010

Home Builder Settles Gender Discrimination and Racial Discrimination Lawsuit For $378,500

Home builder John Wieland Homes pays $378,500 and must hire at least 10 blacks and women in management positions over the next six years to settle a racial discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The lawsuit was filed on behalf of one white woman and five black sales agents. The lawsuit was the culmination of various lawsuits and investigations into the employment practices at this place of business. It is good to final see a resolution to all of the employment law issues.

According to published reports Wieland discriminated against black sales agents by purposely sending them to specific housing subdivisions based on the race of the surrounding community. The black sales agents ended up mainly in black subdivisions which did not have the same dollars in sales as the white subdivisions. Because of this black sales agents earned less than their white counterparts. People have to be given a level playing field in order to properly compete with their counterparts.

Robert Dawkins, attorney for the EEOC, said in a statement. "This resolution provides relief to the last remaining victims of that alleged practice.”
July 8, 2010

Exterminator Pays $80,000 To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Terminix International pays $80,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a pregnant female employee. Terminix fired the employee after forcing her to take medical leave. Once the female became pregnant she informed management about a medical restriction against handling pesticides. The company did honor the restriction for her but for only six weeks, and then they fired her.

The company claimed they had to fire her because they did not have enough work for her to perform with the restrictions. However after firing her Terminix hired two male employees to perform reinspections that the female technician could have performed. Another words, there was work she could have performed and instead of letting her work, they chose to fire her. The EEOC could have also filed gender discrimination charges against the company because the fired a female and hired two males to take her job.

“Pregnancy discrimination charges have nearly doubled since 1992,” said Faye Williams, attorney for the EEOC. “Many employers operate on the mistaken belief that they may treat pregnant employees differently by forcing them to take medical leave and then terminating them. This settlement should place employers on notice that pregnant employees may not be singled out for termination or forced medical leave.”
June 7, 2010

Harley Davidson Dealership Gives Hog a New Name and Pays $55,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

The Dudley Perkins Company, the country’s oldest Harley Davidson motorcycle dealership, will pay $55,000 to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Bowen Dean a female employee. According to the lawsuit, Dean was not allowed to work as a mechanic, while hiring less qualified men for the same position.

In many different professions that are dominated by men, females have a hard time breaking into their ranks. This is a classic case of a qualified female not being able to work in a job solely because of her gender. It is nice to see her pursue her rights and hold the company accountable. The EEOC also did a great job making sure she was compensated.

“Breaking into jobs in non-traditional fields continues to be a challenge for women, and despite the prohibitions on sex discrimination written into federal law in 1964, some sex segregation in employment continues,” said EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo.
May 26, 2010

Two Transporation Companies Settle EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit For $50,000

Amino Transport, Inc. and Chariot Express, Inc. will pay $50,000 to settle a retaliation, religious and pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Joshua Male. According to the lawsuit Male’s employer engaged in retaliation firing him because he had complained about workplace comments being made by two coworkers. The lawsuit also claims Male complained to the human resources ("HR") manager about persistent inappropriate jokes about Mormons, as well as workplace comments allegedly disparaging a pregnant female co-worker, women in general, and an African American.

The HR manager reported Male's complaints to the general manager of the facility, and Male was fired within less than 72 hours. This type of behavior is so obvious and it is amazing that companies still believe they can get away with treating people this way. It is nice to see people stand up for their rights and not let companies operate in this fashion.

“No one should lose his job for alerting human resources to inappropriate workplace behavior,” said EEOC attorney Jim Sacher.
May 23, 2010

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Pays $250 Million In Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. must pay $250 million in punitive damages for a gender discrimination lawsuit. According to the lawsuit the company paid females less and failed to promote females that were pregnant. Treating pregnant females different than males or other females is illegal and called pregnancy discrimination. 5,600 eligible female class members could also be in line for compensatory damages as well as sharing in the punitive damages.

The Obama administration has taken a very aggressive stance on gender discrimination and equal pay issues. With huge jury verdicts like this, you can expect large companies to be taken to court if they are paying females workers less than their male counterparts. The downturn in the economy combined with social networking sites and online recruiting website allows people to follow pay issues more closely.

April 27, 2010

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

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

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

“Every employee deserves the freedom to work in an environment free from any form of harassment,” EEOC attorney Delner Franklin-Thomas said.
April 18, 2010

EEOC's Top Categories Of Filed Charges Released

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

April 7, 2010

Tire Company Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $2 Million

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

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

"The EEOC will continue to investigate employers and industries that have put women in certain types of jobs, and men in others," said Mike Baldonado, director of the agency's San Francisco district.
April 6, 2010

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

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

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

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


March 28, 2010

Baptist Church Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $53,000

Greenforest Community Baptist Church agrees to pay $53,000 to settle two pregnancy discrimination lawsuits. The lawsuits were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Victoria Brown and Shuntal Prince. According to details in the lawsuit Greenforest violated federal law when it fired Prince and rescinded a job offer to Brown after learning they were pregnant. They company not only engaged in pregnancy discrimination but also retaliation.

In the case of Brown she already received an employment offer when she went for a follow-up meeting with the headmaster to discuss some final pre-employment matters before she was to begin her new job. During this meeting, Brown informed the headmaster that she was pregnant and the headmaster told her she would not be able to teach there because of her pregnancy. This is a clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the second case Prince was called into a meeting with the school’s director to discuss some concerns she had about Prince’s health. Although the context of the meeting seemed routine it was really a pretext for discussing Princes pregnancy. During the meeting, the director told Prince she heard rumors that Prince was pregnant. Prince confirmed that she was pregnant and the director fired her.

“Pregnant women have an equal right to participate in the work force,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office.

Continue reading "Baptist Church Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $53,000" »

March 24, 2010

Les Schwab Tire Warehouse Settles Gender Discimination Lawsuit For $2,000,000

Les Schwab Tire Warehouse settled a huge gender discrimination lawsuit for $2,000,000 and other corrective measures. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of females who failed to gain employment with the company. The EEOC alleges that the reason the women were not hired was because of their gender.

There are many industries that are male dominated and even though a company may not try to intentionally discriminate against females, the numbers don't lie. In this case, the EEOC was able to prove through the qualifications of the females and the number of females hired that there had to have been discriminatory practices taking place. Sometimes as John Adams said facts are a stubbon thing.

"While the parties have engaged in extensive litigation the past four years, we are pleased to work with Les Schwab to bring this case to a resolution and to start a new era of cooperation," EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo said.
March 16, 2010

Boeing Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $380,000

The Boeing Company will pay $380,000 to settle two lawsuits involving gender discrimination and retaliation. The lawsuits were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of two female engineers. In the first lawsuit Antonia Castron complained of gender discrimination based on sexist remarks which resulted in a hostile work environment. After she complained to management, she was moved to a new location and two months later she found herself without a job. The lawsuit filed by the EEOC alleges Boeing engaged in retaliation for terminating Castron.

In the second case Renee Wrede twice complained of gender discrimination and remarkably both times Boeing’s own investigators substantiated her complaints. This is the remarkable part of this case. Even though Boeing was able to agree that Wrede was suffering from gender discrimination, Boeing allowed her harassers to influence her layoff evaluations and reduce her scores. It should be no suprise that Wrede was also layed off. Even though Boeing tried to manipute evidence, the EEOC’s investigation proved Boeing manipulated evaluation scores in order to justify the terminations of Wrede and Castron. It is hard to believe corporations still behave like this.

“Covert attempts to mask discriminatory and retaliatory motives, such as Boeing employed, will fool no one.” said EEOC acting attorney Rayford Irvin.
March 2, 2010

Walmart Pays $11.7 Million To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Walmart agreed to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of a class of female workers and potential female workers for $11.7 million. According to the allegations in the lawsuit Walmart’s Distribution Center denied jobs to female applicants for a period of seven years by hiring male applicants for warehouse positions while not hiring females who were either as qualified or more qualified. Hard to believe that this type of coordinated behavior still takes place.

In addition to paying the money, as part of the settlement Walmart must offer the next 50 positions to females and after that every third position will be offered to females. This case lasted a very long time and the amount although large in the grand scheme of things is very small for a large company like Walmart. People should realize that big companies will fight and use delay tactics when faced with discrimination lawsuits. Corporate greed seems to be getting worse in this country and organizations like the EEOC keep fighting the good fight for the average person.

“Let this major settlement serve as a warning: Employers must stop engaging in these outdated and sexist practices, or they will face severe legal consequences.” said Acting EEOC Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru


February 25, 2010

United Companies Pays $498,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit

United Companies will pay $498,000 to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a female worker who court documents did not name. According to details in the lawsuit the woman has been working for the company since 1998 and held a variety of jobs before the company assigned her to work as a quality control technician. According to documents in the lawsuit once in that position the gender discrimination against her became overt and interfered with her ability to work.

In a big help for the female worker several male co-workers saw and overheard the gender discrimination and degrading treatment and backed her up when she complained to management. The female did complain about the gender discrimination to management and the men did back her up. Even the men thought they would be the subject of retaliation for supporting the female worker in her harassment claim. The company ended up terminated the female and two of her male supported but not before the department manager called the men troublemakers and told them they better shut up.

“Employers have a responsibility to maintain an environment free of sex discrimination and retaliation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill. “Here, the managers themselves committed both those offenses.

Continue reading "United Companies Pays $498,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit" »

February 19, 2010

EEOC Complaints Can Be Faxed

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") can be faxed instead of filed in person or through the mail. If you have a charge of discrimination, whether based on gender, race, religion or sexual harassment you have to file the charge within 180 with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or 300 days with the EEOC. The IDHR has always allowed for complaints to be filed by fax but the EEOC never recognized fax filings. In Laouini v. CLM Freight Lines, Inc. the Seventh Circuit held that a receipt showing a fax was sent to the EEOC is sufficient to prove the date of filing.

It is always very important to remember that there are very strict time limits to filing a charge of discrimination. You must not procrastonate and let too much time slip away. In some instances an employer may drag out the internal investigation so that by the time you receive the internal findings of the company, more than 180 days has passed and you can't file a charge with the IDHR.

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February 15, 2010

Female Police Officer Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $130,000

A female police officer who wishes to remain anonymous settled her sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit against the city of Port Allen for $130,000. Although some details remain sealed some details include that on Dec. 4, 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") issued a letter to the city stating that the Police Department had engaged in gender discrimination for disciplining an employee more harshly than other officers. The problems got worse and on Sept. 1, 2006 the EEOC issued a second letter asserting that the same employee was the subject of sexual harassment and the city failed to take appropriate action to correct the problem. This sealed the fate for the city.

In cases like this sometimes remaining out of the public spotlight is very important to the person who is the subject of discrimination. The fact that the EEOC issued two letters and the city paid $130,000 indicates that something wrong was taking place at the police department. It is important to hold those responsible by filing a complaint and following through with the process.

“I don’t totally agree with the settlement, but I understand that the council did what they felt was in the best interests of the city,” said Mayor Derek Lewis
February 9, 2010

Male Hotel Worker Settles Gender Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit

Richard Knight a male hotel worker for the Columbia Sussex Corporation, settled his gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed on his behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit, Knight who was a manager claimed that Columbia Sussex fired him from its Sheraton Hotel because he was a male, and because he complained that a female co-worker was not disciplined for the same purported infraction--which is retaliation.

Details in the lawsuit claim the companies general manager demanded that Knight go into his office without the presence of a human resource representative, but did not force Knight’s female co-worker to proceed without a representative-when they both had the same infractions. When Knight asked the general manager whether he was granting privileges to the female manager that he would not grant to Knight, the general manager replied that he could do whatever he wanted and then he immediately terminated Knight. For the exact same infraction the female manager was not disciplined. As part of the settlement Knight will be returned to his position and receive back pay.

Knight commented on the settlement, “I am very grateful that the EEOC brought this case on my behalf. I love the hotel industry. My main goal was always to get my job back. I am excited to get back to work with Columbia Sussex in my chosen field.”

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February 1, 2010

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit By Police Against City Settled for $405,000

The city of San Leandro settled 4 for their 7 sexual harassment disputes for $405,000. According to the settlement documents three former San Leandro police officers and a department clerk will receive a total of $405,000. Former Officers Taiwo Pena-Hornung, Christina Tiletile and Kamilah Jackson, and records clerk Amanda Kerr sued the city claiming they were sexually harassed, discriminated against for their gender and national origin, and retaliation.

The trouble isn't over for the city as three female officers still employed also have active lawsuits and their cases are set for trial in October. According to court documents the settlement breaks down as follows. Tiletile was awarded $295,000. Pena-Hornung $50,000, Kerr $35,000 and Jackson $25,000. Sgt. J. DeWayne Stancill was accused of sexual harassment and of creating a hostile work environment in the cases.

January 27, 2010

Monmouth County Employee Carol Melnick Awarded $470,000 in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Carol Melnick filed a lawsuit against the Monmouth County board in 2005 claiming discrimination based on gender, retaliation, hostile work environment and sexual harassment. The case was settled in 2007 for $470,000 but the details were sealed. In the latest development in the case the New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled the terms should be made public and thus the details were released.

Melnick remains employed by the county despite her award on the sexual harassment lawsuit. When you get a settlement for almost half a million dollars from a public entity, there must be good facts supporting the allegations. Both parties should keep in mind that when a settlement is reached involving a pubilc entity, the terms of the settlement will probably come out and not remain private. Unlike a private company, the public has a right to know how their money is being spent.

January 9, 2010

Auto Company Pays $1.505 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment, Gender and Age Discrimination Lawsuit With The EEOC

Arapahoe Motors, Inc. which does business as Ralph Schomp motors will pay $1.505 million to settle an age discrimination, sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of five women and five men. The women claim they were subjected to sexual harassment, gender discrimination and a hostile work environment while employed. Some of the conduct alleged in the lawsuit include offensive comments and physical touching. As a result of reporting this conduct and of refusing to participate in this type of behavior the women claim they were demoted and had their salaries reduced. Some claim they were not promoted because of gender discrimination.

On the age discrimination claim the EEOC claims five male employees over age 40 were terminated because of their ages and replaced with younger, less experienced workers. The lawsuit also claims that a manger under the age of 30 made age-related comments about the older workers before they were fired and in a move that makes no business sense, employees younger than 40 with lower sales numbers were retained.

“Sexual harassment and sex discrimination against women in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as the auto industry, are still unfortunate realities,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru."

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December 30, 2009

Outback Steakhouse Pays $19 Million To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Outback Steakhouse settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for $19 million. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of over a thousand female employees in restaurants throughout the country. The lawsuit alleges that Outback Steakhouse unlawfully discriminated against female employees by treating the females different from male employees. In the legal industry this is known as discrimination based on terms and conditions of employment. The female employees were denied equal opportunities for advancement within the company.

When this happens to female employees it is known as the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling at a corporation takes place when females cannot get promoted to the higher-level profit-sharing management positions within an organization. In this case the female employees at Outback Steakhouse were not able to advance into upper management where the lucrative jobs are. In this particular case, the EEOC claimed females were denied favorable job assignments, including kitchen management experience. This is important because without experience in those positions employees were unable to make it into top management. If you look at the management profile of most corporations, they are still made up of white males.

“There are still too many glass ceilings left to shatter in workplaces throughout corporate America,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The EEOC will continue to bring class lawsuits like this one against employers who engage in gender discrimination on a systemic scale. Hopefully this major settlement will remind employers about the perils of perpetuating promotion practices that keep women from advancing at work.”

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December 6, 2009

Pregnant Corrections Officer Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $60,000

Niagara County will pay $60,000 to Traci Haner to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. According to the lawuist Haner was a female Niagara County Jail corrections officer who was kicked out of the Corrections Officer Academy because she was pregnant. According to the lawsuit Haner alleged she mentioned her pregnancy on a medical form she filled out when entering the academy and was dismissed from classes 10 days later.

The lawsuit alleges Haner offered to obtain a doctor’s release allowing her to take part in training at the academy but the County refused saying she was a liability. The remarkable portion of this lawsuit is that after they dismissed her from the academy they assigned to her a full-time job that involved direct contact with inmates. In her lawsuit Haner contends that county policy calls for pregnant corrections officers to be placed on light duty work and have no contact with inmates. She alleges the County engaged in pregnancy discrimination by the conduct which violated her rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


December 5, 2009

Building Company Pays $200,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Cherryville-based R-Anell Housing is paying $200,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision ("EEOC") on behalf of female applicants. According to the lawsuit the company refused to hire female applicants based on their gender. The lawsuit alleged the company a gender biased workplace which denied female employees opportunties available to men.

According to the lawsuit, discovery revealed that the company had not preserved applications and personnel records as required by federal law. This is typical behavior of a company that does not want people to see what types of hiring practices they are engaged in. In settlements like this a decree is issued in which the EEOC will monitor the company for four years to ensure it does not engage in gender discrimination.

December 3, 2009

Animal Control Officer Settles Age Discrimination Lawsuit For $64,000

Pat Gansen the 57 year-old Mason City animal control officer settled her age discrimination lawsuit against the city for $64,000. The lawsuit alleged the city allowed discrimination based on gender and age. Gansen also accused the city managers of retaliation when she complained about discrimination when they didn't promote her.

Age and gender discrimination are illegal and a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As part of the settlement both parties agreed there is not an admission of liability on the part of the city. Even though the city asked for this language in the agreement as do most defendants, the fact that they paid $64,000 speaks for itself. As the job market gets tighter and more employees are getting squeezed by their employers, many different types of discrimination are coming to the surface. It is important to discuss employment issues with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

December 2, 2009

22 Female Teachers Get $1 Million For Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

22 female teachers who claimed in a federal lawsuit that they were the victims of gender discrimination settled their lawsuit for a total of about $1 million. $460,000 will go to the teacher and the remainded will cover attorney fees and costs. According to the lawsuit, the female teachers claimed that they were not treated the same as their male counterparts for things like prior teaching experience outside the district which resulted in lower wages.

The teachers are located in the Richland school district in Pennsylvania. This type of behavior is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in Illinois a charge could be brought before the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR.")These types of cases are expensive because discovery is usually need to determine things like the difference in pay between females and males. The good thing about a case like this however is that it is hard to destroy evidence of discrimination because the pay records are things which can't be destroyed and covered up.


November 15, 2009

Woman Awarded $2.5 Million in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Fresno city's fire department discriminated against one of its recruits because she was a woman and as a result a jury awarded Michelle Maher nearly $2.5 million in her gender discrimination lawsuit. Maher alleged she was a victim of gender discrimination and a hostile work environment when she was forced out of a Fresno fire department training class. A hostile work environment exists when an employee is treated different because of some discriminatory conduct and the treatment results in an adverse employment decision.

According to evidence presented during the federal trial Maher was intentionally forced out of the training class even though some male recruits with lower test scores remained in the training class. Many times gender discrimination is proved by comparing similarly situation males and females to see that one gender is not being fairly treated. It is rare that managers or executives come right out and send a memo not to hire females or to drop them from training because of their gender.

"It's just overwhelming to think that it's over," Maher said after the verdict.


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November 9, 2009

Female Construction Worker Gets $150,000 For Being Forced To Wear Diapers

Lisa Drozdowski claimed that she had to wear adult diapers at her job at Danella Construction Corp. because it would not provide portable toilets and recently she was awarded $150,000 in a gender-discrimination lawsuit brought on her behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The men at the construction sites would just go to the bathroom in holes but Drozdowski had to walk a great distance to use a restroom. When Drozdowski complainted to management she suffered retaliation when the company stopped giving her work.

Four other female employees of Danella Construction Corp., also claimed that they were discriminated against because of gender, split an additional $50,000. According to the complaint other female flaggers who were present would shield each other from passing cars and co-workers with blankets while they went to the bathroom on the side of the road. The additional problem facing Drozdowski was that she was the only woman on a job and could not go to the bathroom and ended up urinating on herself. Rather than continue to urinate on herself she started to wear adult diapers to work each day.

"It was humiliating, but I needed the job." said Drozdowsky.

Drozdowsky is a single mother with three children.


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November 6, 2009

Restaurant Pays Over $1 Million To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") settlement a gender discrimination class action lawsuit for $1,025,000 and far reaching injunctive relief against Lawry's Restaurants, Inc., for allegedly failing to hire men into food server positions for decades.
According to court papers Lawry’s maintained a longstanding companywide policy of hiring only women for server positions in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination (also known as gender discrimination).

In one of the most bizarre set of facts uncovered in an investigation the EEOC found that Lawry’s policy barring men from being hired as servers had existed since 1938, despite the enactment of Title VII a quarter century later. Remarkably Lawry’s claimed the policy was based on tradition. I guess you could burn crosses on someones front lawn and claim it was based on tradition and Lawry's would understand? Please.

"Sex discrimination, against men and women alike, continues to be a problem in the 21st century workplace,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This case should remind corporate America that employment decisions must be based on merit and ability to do the job – not on gender stereotypes.”

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October 23, 2009

Standard Register Sued for Gender Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit against the Standard Register for gender discrimination of a female employee. According to court papers Penny Zink had male coworkers who repeatedly discriminated against and harassed her because she was female. Zinke was forced to quit her job as a result of the gender discrimination which is also referred to as constructive discharge.

According to the lawsuit the male workers called Zink names and yelled at her. They also failed to give her the needed assistance to work on a two-person machine even though male employees were given that aid. This is common in gender discrimination lawsuits. The males were trying to make it difficult for her to do the job so she would fail.

“Standard Register denies the allegations in the lawsuit,” Dale McMichael, Standard Register director of client relations, said in an e-mail to the Dayton Daily News.
October 17, 2009

Doctor Sues Hospital and Doctor For Sexual Harassment

A doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center filed a lawsuit against the hospital and her boss Hector Wong claiming gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The doctor accuses Wong of sexually harassing her beginning when she interviewed for a job at the hospital. Additionally the lawsuit alleges gender discrimination against her based on lesser pay than comparable male doctors. She also claims she was not promoted because she rejected Wong's sexual advances which is retaliation.

According to the doctor, she was threatened by Wong who is a martial artist after she rejected his sexual advances. At the same time her promotion was rejected and given to another female doctor who did not reject Wong's sexual advances, according to the lawsuit. The doctor claims the hospital should have known about Wong's sexual harassment and did not stop it.

The doctor claims Wong and the hospital retaliated against her after she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging sexual harassment against Wong and of the hospital.


September 21, 2009

EEOC Report Shows Increase in Discrimination Lawsuits

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") released its' report for 2008 and it shwos there were 16,752 complaints alleging employment discrimination– up 2.4 percent from the prior year. These complaints are allegations against government agencies only and do not include complaints against private companies. The complaints were filed against federal agencies on the basis of retaliation, gender, race, national origin, religion and age.

Other interesting statistics in the report include of 7,538 cases closed on the merits, 2.5% resulted in findings of unlawful discrimination. Both parties entered into settlements in 19.5 % or 3,249 complaints. Agencies awarded a total of over $50 million in monetary benefits to complainants for unlawful discrimination.

“Federal agencies must step up their efforts to improve complaint processing time, while also focusing on quality results,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “

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September 18, 2009

New Illinois Law Takes Affect January 1, 2010 Adding Additional Discrimination Protections

The Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA") also known as, 775 ILCS 5/1-101 will now offer protection to individuals who have an order of protection. Starting at the first of the year it will be considered unlawful discrimination, based on order of protection status, to take any negative job action on an individual if they have an order of protection and there is no legitimate business reason for the negative job action.

This new law adds order of protection status to the current protected classifications of religion, age, race, national origin, gender, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service. The initial charge would be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in either Chicago or Springfield.

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September 2, 2009

Mars Super Markets Pays $275,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Mars Super Markets, Inc. agreed to pay $275,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a class action gender discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").According to the lawsuit, Mars refused to hire part-time deli clerk Gail Brown as an apprentice meat cutter at a Dundalk, Md., Mars store because she is a woman.

Mars, which operates 16 grocery stores in the Baltimore metropolitan area, had an ongoing pattern of failing to hire females as meat cutters and also failed to preserve various personnel and employment records, which also violated federal law. Refusing to hire qualified applicants because of their gender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is gender discrimination.

"Eliminating an entire gender – half the population – from consideration for a particular type of job makes no sense and clearly violates decades-old federal law,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

In Fiscal Year 2008, the EEOC received 28,372 charges of gender discrimination.

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August 16, 2009

R-Anell Housing Group Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $200,000

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a lawsuit agains R-Anell Housing alleging that R-Anell Housing refused to hire Amy Hall and a class of similarly situated female applicants because of their gender. According to the complaint, R-Anell engaged in gender discrimination at its' manufacturing facility beginning as early as 2004, and at a manufacturing facility previously operated in Denver, N.C., beginning as early as 2003. The EEOC and R-Anell settled this lawsuit for $200,000 plus other relief.

The EEOC further charged that R-Anell maintains a sex-segregated workforce that has the effect of denying female employees equal employment opportunities. According to the EEOC court-filed complaint, R-Anell also failed to preserve applications and personnel records as required by law. Gender discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Excluding all women – half the population and half the talent pool – from the workplace is a counter-intuitive business strategy and illegal,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “This settlement shows the EEOC will insist on meaningful relief for victims of such blatant sex discrimination.”

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August 11, 2009

Mason City Iowa Settles Gender and Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The Mason City Council reached a settlement on an age discrimination and gender discrimination lawsuit but did not disclose how much it will cost the taxpayers. Pat Gansen, 57, a city animal-control officer for eleven years and city employee for seventeen years alleges she was denied a job promotion because of age and gender discrimination. Gansen filed her lawsuit in June 2008, claiming the city permitted gender and age discrimination and harassment, and retaliated against her complaints by failing to promote her.

Gansen also alleged discrimination based on pay and benefits, and that she was denied her equal protection under the law by denying her equal pay-a violation of the civil rights act of 1964. Defendants in the lawsuit were the city, chief building official Chuck McGreevey, city engineer Mark Rahm and human resources director Tom Meyer, who is also the city attorney.

August 1, 2009

Anti-Male Remarks Lead to Title VII Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Carl Sassaman was accused by a female co-worker of sexual harassment. Sassaman's boss conducted a very limited investigation which turned into a he-said,she-said as both partys claimed the other was lying. Sassaman's boss took not further investigation and assumed Sassaman had sexually harassed the co-worker and told him to either resign or he would be fired. Sassaman instead filed a discrimination lawsuit, Sassaman v. Gamache, claiming his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were violated.

The original lawsuit was dismissed by the Court however, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned that dismissal and remanded the case for further trial. The 2nd Circuit said that jurors could reasonably draw an inference of discriminatory intent if they accepted Sassaman's combined allegations that his boss suggested men are apt to sexually harass their co-workers and that the employer failed to properly investigate the alleged harassment.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), men generated 15.9% of sexual harassment complaints filed in 2008. The majority of those complaints were men complaining about sexual harassment by other men.

July 27, 2009

Dell Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $9.1 Million

Computer powerhouse Dell Inc. will pay $9.1 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by two female former employees, Jill Hubley a senior strategist and Laura Guenther a senior manager. U.S. District Judge James R. Nowlin issued a preliminary approval of the settlement in which Dell also agreed to hire an expert psychologist to review its employment practices and a labor economist who may recommend pay adjustments for female employees in some positions.

The lawsuit alleged Dell “systematically denied equal employment opportunities to its female employees” in compensation and promotions and discriminated against women in training, in assignments of positions outside the U.S. and in programs designed to accelerate advancement.

“We’re pleased to have it behind us and to move on,” Dell spokesman David Frink said in a phone interview. “The settlement allows us to focus fuller attention on our already strong diversity and equal opportunity programs.”

In Fiscal Year 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") received 28,372 charges of gender discrimination. The EEOC resolved 24,018 gender discrimination charges in FY 2008 and recovered $109.3 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals. In this case the EEOC was not directly involved however the statistics show how much gender discrimination still exists.

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July 27, 2009

Maryland Board of Public Works Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $65,000

The Board of Public Works settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $65,000 with an employee in the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.The employee alleged she was subjected to, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and a hostile work environment by the conduct of at least nine of her male co-workers while she was employed in the maintenance shop at the Baltimore City Detention Center from July of 2004 until May of 2007.

A hostile work environment exists when an employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser based sexual harassment or gender discrimination among other things. As part of the settlement, the woman, who still works for the department, has agreed to dismiss her case with prejudice and release all claims against the department and the state of Maryland.

In Illinois, an employer may not terminate or otherwise take an adverse job action against an employee because of the gender of the employee. The policies and employment rules must be applied equally to all employees. Policies and employment rules which have a disproportionately adverse impact on one gender are strictly prohibited under both Illinois and Federal law.

July 21, 2009

Female Hard Hat Hits Glass Ceiling and Files $20 Million Dollar Lawsuit

Hardhat Bianca Wisniewski broke through the construction industry's glass ceiling and hit the concrete wall of sexual harassment. Wisniewski sued JPMorgan Chase, Total Safety Consulting and others in Manhattan Supreme Court for a harassment campaign she says began when she took over as safety coordinator at the company's 270 Park Ave. construction site in 2007. Following a period on disability, Wisniewski was fired from her job with Total Safety Consulting of Long Island City, Queens after complaining of the sexual harassment. This constitutes retaliation.

Wisniewski alleges elevator operator Steve Greco groped and propositioned her while her bosses brushed off her claims. According to the lawsuit, Greco harassed Wisniewski with lewd come-ons that repulsed the widowed mother of two teenage daughters. According to the Daily News Wisnieski said Greco made the following statements to her.

"I just want to take you to dinner, no f------," she says Greco told her while grabbing her around the waist.
"Everybody kisses engineer Steve," the suit quotes Greco as boasting. "This is a man's world, not a place for women to work."

In 1995, the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission issued its report on the employment of women at the highest levels of business. The Commission found that within Fortune 1000 industrial and Fortune 500 companies, 95-97% of senior managers were male. The Commission also found numerous obstacles regarding the advancement of women in business, including inadequate outreach and recruitment practices, lack of mentoring opportunities and the placement of women in positions within corporations where they are less likely to gain the necessary experience and contacts for future advancement.

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July 12, 2009

Vail Corp. Settles Gender and Religious Discrimination Lawsuit for $80,000

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") says The Vail Corp. will pay $80,000 as part of a settlement of a religious and gender discrimination lawsuit. According to the lawsuit an emergency services supervisor, Lisa Marie Cornwell was harassed based on her gender and religion at Vail's Keystone Resort ski area. Cornwell was denied religious accommodations, was treated less favorably than her male colleagues and was fired in retaliation for complaining.

According to the lawsuit Cornwells supervisor Garcia ridiculed Cornwell for asking for scheduling accommodation so that she could attend her preferred religious services, and denied her requests while scheduling lower ranking officers for the shifts she requested. Also, Garcia created and tolerated a sexually hostile work environment where he and other male employees made offensive sexual comments and jokes in the workplace. Cornwell complained to various Keystone managers and human resource staff about the harassment and being scheduled to miss her religious services on Sundays, but no action was taken to resolve the problems. The EEOC alleged that Cornwell was fired in retaliation for her last complaint, made less than ten days before her termination.

“Title VII imposes an affirmative obligation on employers to accommodate employees’ religious practices and beliefs when possible. When Congress added this provision to the statute, they expected employers to cooperate with employees to work out some reasonable accommodation. The environment in this case, where the employee was not only flatly denied accommodation, but also ridiculed for even asking, is unacceptable,” emphasized Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office.

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July 11, 2009

People Preferred Staffing Settles Gender and Retaliation Lawsuit With EEOC for $250,000

Preferred Labor LLC, doing business as Preferred People Staffing, which is a national employment agency chain agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to the lawsuit, Preferred subjected a class of female employees in its Worcester, Mass., facility to unlawful job segregation on the basis of sex and then retaliated against one woman for complaining. The EEOC said that Preferred restricted women to a narrow range of assignments and complied with discriminatory requests from its clients for male-only temporary employees which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964.

“This settlement is a stark reminder to businesses: A customer’s preference to be staffed or served only by workers of a particular gender is never an excuse to engage in illegal sex discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV approved a consent decree detailing the settlement in which Preferred will pay $250,000 to women who were affected by the discriminatory practices. In addition, if Preferred resumes conducting business as a temporary day labor agency, it will be enjoined from engaging in discrimination or retaliation and will implement policies and procedures prohibiting those practices. Also, the company will have to conduct anti-discrimination training for its employees and managers and take other steps designed to prevent discrimination and retaliation.

July 7, 2009

Hayward Police Department Settles Gender and Sexual Orientation Lawsuit For $5 Million

Fourteen female Hayward police officers said they had faced systematic harassment based on their gender or sexual orientation announced today the case has been settled for nearly $5 million. The lawsuit stated that women were subjected to sexual harassment and those who accepted such advances were favored for promotions, and that a rumor mill churned out demeaning stories about female officers having sexual relations with multiple men in the department, often men whose advances had been rebuffed.

Lesbian officers were seen as targets for "conversion," the suit stated. Harassment against one officer included making her privy to a videotape that showed her husband, also an officer, having sex with a dispatcher. The women claimed that those who complained about the workplace conditions were retaliated against via demotions or denial of promotion, and in four cases were fired.

Casper said the amount of the settlement indicated the insurance companies "recognized the problems the city has historically had with women being treated fairly at the police department. Close to $5 million is not an amount paid unless someone has recognized years of wrongdoing."

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June 28, 2009

United States Supreme Court Gives Union Workers The Shaft

The United States Supreme Court in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 129 S. Ct. 1456 (2009) by a 5-4 vote held that a provision in a collective bargaining agreement ("Agreement") which clearly and unmistakeably requires employees to arbitrate their statutory discrimination claims is enforceable and precludes employees from asserting their statutory claims in state or federal courts. In laymans terms what this means is that if you are in a union and through bargaining the union agrees to settle all employment claims through arbitration, your sole remedy as a union employee is to arbitrate the claim. You will be forever barred from filing a claim in any federal or state court.

This decision does not affect employees who are not in a union as they have not bargained through their representatives the terms of their employment. The types of claims involved could include sexual harassment, gender discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination. Americans with Disabilities, age discrimination, religious discrimination, retaliation claims and sexual orientations claims.

The Court did hold that the Agreement to arbitrate must be "clear and unmistakable". One issue the Court did not address is what happens if the Union does not take the employees claim to arbitration? There are two ways to interpert the Court's decision in Pyett, one the employee would have no further remedy or in that case the employee court take the case to state or federal court, however the latter seems less likely under Pyett.

June 24, 2009

Vail Corporation Pays $80,000 To Settle Religious and Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Vail Corporation operators of ski resorts in Vail and Keystone, Colo., will pay $80,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious and gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

According to the lawsuit, EEOC v. The Vail Corporation, 07-cv-02035-REB-KLM, Lisa Marie Cornwell, an emergency services supervisor at the Keystone Resort, was subjected to harassment based on her Christian religion and her gender, denied religious accommodation and treated less favorably than her male colleagues. The EEOC said that Cornwell’s supervisor, Rick Garcia, forbade her and another Christian employee from even discussing their Christian beliefs with one another while at work, and would not allow them to listen to Christian music while on duty, because it might offend other employees, but had no similar restrictions on music with profanity or lyrics promoting violence against women, which were offensive to Cornwell.

EEOC Denver Field Director Nancy Sienko added, “Claims of religious discrimination have increased by more than 80 percent in the last ten years.

Additionally, according to the EEOC, Garcia ridiculed Cornwell for asking for scheduling accommodation so that she could attend her preferred religious services, and denied her requests while scheduling lower ranking officers for the shifts she requested. Also, Garcia created and tolerated a hostile work environment where he and other male employees made offensive sexual comments and jokes in the workplace and subjected Cornwell to sexual harassment, the EEOC alleged.

Cornwell complained to various Keystone managers and human resource staff about the harassment and being scheduled to miss her religious services on Sundays, but no action was taken to resolve the problems. EEOC alleged that Cornwell was fired in retaliation for her last complaint, made less than ten days before her termination.

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June 22, 2009

Simula Settles EEOC Gender and Retaliation Case For $110,000

A Phoenix-based international military contractor, Simula, which is owned by BAE Systems will pay $110,000 and furnish other relief to settle lawsuit charging gender discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC’s suit (Case No. 2:07-CV-01656-PHX-ECV) in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona charged that Simula, Inc. discriminated against temporary employees Margaret Chavez, Laura Box, and Christine Hanson by paying them less than male employees who performed the same job duties and not making them permanent employees. The EEOC also charged that Simula discriminated against Chavez on the basis of her age and ended Box’s temporary employment in retaliation for her complaints of sexual harassment.

"Employers cannot take advantage of temporary employees by denying them a work environment free of gender and age discrimination and retaliation,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “Federal law protects both permanent and temporary employees from discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.”

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit employment discrimination based on age, race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy or sexual harassment) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation.

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June 16, 2009

Schott North America Must Pay $1.45 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") settled a gender discrimination lawsuit for $1.45 millinois and significant equitable relief against Schott North America, a multinational developer and manufacturer of special glass and specialty materials, components and systems, based in Elmsford, N.Y. In addition to the $1.45 million in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree provides substantial equitable relief, including: injunctive relief enjoining Schott from engaging in unlawful discrimination under Title VII or retaliation; annual anti-discrimination training of all supervisors and managers at the Duryea, Pa. facility; and the posting of a notice about the settlement.

The EEOC charged that Schott laid off women because of their sex after a company reorganization in October 2004 of its specialty glass plant in Duryea, Pa. Prior to the reorganization, glass production at the plant was generally divided into two parts, the “hot end” and the “cold end”; 95.3% of the hot-end workers were male and 76.6% of the cold-end workers were female.

As part of the reorganization, the company created a new position of “melting line operator” and used a “skills matrix” to determine who would obtain these new positions. The glass company laid off employees whom it did not select for the melting line operator position. In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that the skills matrix system benefited male employees, did not accurately measure the skills truly needed to perform the melting line operator job and had an adverse impact on female applicants – who were selected for layoff at a significantly higher rate than male employees. The EEOC alleged six female employees were not selected for melting line operator positions and were laid off because of their sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Acting EEOC Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said, “This significant settlement demonstrates the EEOC's commitment to securing meaningful relief for victims of systemic sex discrimination.”

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June 14, 2009

Brooks Run Mining Co. and Neal & Associates Settle EEOC Gender Discrimination Lawsuit For $115,000

Brooks Run Mining Company and staffing firm Neal & Associates will pay $115,000 to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") According to the lawsuit, women security guards as a class were discriminated against because of their gender. The EEOC alleged the women complained about sexual harassment, then retaliated against as they were prevented either by layoffs or transfers from working at the Brooks Run Cucumber mine site, although those security jobs were available to men.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Case No. 5:08-cv-0071) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

"Too often, women working in non-traditional fields suffer this kind of discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The EEOC will fight to protect the rights of all workers to be free from discrimination based on gender and free from retribution for asserting that right.”

The three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit gives $115,000 to three women, all former security guards at the Cucumber mine site. In addition to monetary relief, the decree provides for significant remedial relief, including promoting supervisor accountability. The settlement also requires yearly training for all management staff on employee rights and employer obligations under federal and state anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on sex discrimination.


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June 8, 2009

Menards Ordered To Pay $1.5 Million To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Dawn Sands, former vice-president and executive general counsel of Menard Inc. was awarded $1.5 million in back pay and damages and rehired at a higher salary according to an arbitration agreement. The case started when Sands was earning $70,000 and she complained, prompting the company to terminate her employment. She filed a lawsuit claiming gender discrimination and retaliation.

Menards appealed the arbitration award and on April 14, 2009 the Wisconsin Third District Court ruled against Menards and upheld the arbitration award. The Court also found Menards in contempt for not rehiring sands and scheduled another hearing to determine damages.

Laws in Illinois provide that gender discrimination occurs if a company terminates or otherwise take an adverse job action against an employee because of the sex of the employee. A companies policies and employment rules must be applied equally to all employees. Policies and employment rules which have a disproportionately adverse impact on one sex are strictly prohibited under both Illinois and Federal law. In short, if you are a female and have the same qualifications of a man and do the same job but get less money you may have a gender based discrimination claim.

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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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May 3, 2009

Two Female University Coaches Settles Gender Discrimination Case For $3.4 Million

Two female head coaches sued the Florida Gulf Coast University alleging gender discrimination and Title IX retaliation. Flood was the head of the University women's volleyball team and Vaughn was the head of the University golf team. Both women were paid less than their male counterparts, had sub-par offices and were not given office equipment that other less qualified male coaches were given. Both were also given year-to-year contracts while their male counterparts were given multi-year contracts.

Both women complained to the interim athletic director who rebuffed them and allegedly said

"if you don't like it here, you can get the hell out."
The University President was made aware of the situation and nothing changed. The following month Flood was given a performance review appraisal of below expectation and placed on probation. Flood was next put on administrative leave and the university began to conduct several investigations without telling Flood of the investigations. While this was taking place, Flood was named "Coach of the Year" by the school's volleyball conference. Several months later, Flood was terminated by the University.

Vaughn was rated as "marginally meets expectations" even though the evaluator had never attended one of her practices, team meetings, or tournaments.

The parties settled before trial for a total of $3.4 million, with Flood getting $2.97 million and Vaughn getting $435,000.

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May 2, 2009

Activist Settles Sexual Harassment Case For $130,000

The Los Angeles City Council today approved a $130,000 settlement in a sexual harassment complaint by Mary Cummins-Cobb against departing Animal Services Director Ed Boks. The lawsuit, filed by animal activist Mary Cummins-Cobb alleged Boks engaged in "inappropriate and unprofessional conduct" including trying to hug and kiss her, calling her frequently and using vulgar comments with her. Boks resigned last month in the face of pressure from officials, with complaints over his decision-making and operation of the department.

Cummins-Cobb had been working with Boks to develop the Animal Services Web site, but she had to leave because of the way she was being treated. After leaving the post, Cummins-Cobb alleged in her lawsuit that she lost other jobs because of Boks. Cummins-Cobb filed a lawsuit as a result of being fired alleging sexual harassment, retaliation and the creation of a hostile work environment.

Cummins-Cobb also alleged that Boks would come to her residence drunk late at night and ask her out for a date.

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April 30, 2009

Female Stock Brokers Settle Gender Discrimination Case For $33 Million

Four female stock brokers sued Citigroup Global Markets Inc. alleging gender discrimination. So, Varner, Orlando and Amochaev, all earned less than their male counterparts and had fewer assets to manage and fewer opportunities to earn more income. The females complained to the company's human resources department about the firms discrimination actions.

The four females filed a lawsuit alleging Citi intentionally maintains policies that lock in, perpetuate, and increase gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e and California Civil Rights Laws. So also alleged race discrimination under Title VII.

Citi responded that there was no difference in treatment between the male and female employees. The parties settled before trial for $33 million plus interest. Citi also agreed to institute several anti-discrimination policies.

April 27, 2009

Tompkins County Sheriff Peter Meskill's Secretary Alleges Sexual Harassment, Racial and Gender Discrimination

Robin Korherr filed a complaint Sept. 12, 2007, with the Division of Human Rights, alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, racial discrimination and retaliation. The Division of Human Rights later found probable cause in the case. Korherr worked June 2003 to August 2007 at the sheriff's office as Sheriff Meskill's confidential secretary. Korherr, also a member of Ithaca Common Council representing the city's Fifth Ward, alleges sexual harassment and retaliation from April 2005 to August 2007.

Korherr claims the sexual harassment began in 2005 when she was going through a divorce. Korherr says on several occasions, Meskill tried to kiss and grope her. Korherr testified that she approached her boss numerous times to rectify the situation and the sheriff would apologize initially, but become aggressive again and continued with the alleged behavior through his re-election in 2006. She also claims she received dozens of drunken phone calls from him.

Korherr says Meskill made it impossible for her to work by taking away her privileges and enforcing new rules and believes it was retaliation, saying it was because "I wouldn't sleep with him."


April 26, 2009

Researcher Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against University of Illinois at Chicago

Former researcher Irina Balyasnikova is seeking tens of thousands of dollars in damages in a gender discrimination lawsuit against the University of Illinois at Chicago. According to her lawsuit, Balyasnikova was passed up for promotions and paid less than her male peers. And the university used grant money she had secured for her own work to fund a male colleague’s research, the lawsuit says, shortchanging her out of $143,000.

Dr. Ronald Albrecht, the head of the department at the time, said in an affidavit that Balyasnikova aggressively sought raises and bonuses during her time at UIC and that by late 2006,

“her salary alone was an unmanageable burden for the department.”

In Illinois, a company may not terminate or otherwise take an adverse job action against an employee because of the sex of the employee. A companies policies and employment rules must be applied equally to all employees. Policies and employment rules which have a disproportionately adverse impact on one sex are strictly prohibited under both Illinois and Federal law.


April 15, 2009

Opportunity Village Worker Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Jessica Hein, 23,alleges that her shift leader, Ryan Dennis, 26, made numerous unwanted sexual advances toward her, including unwanted and unsolicited touching, grabbing, groping and squeezing various parts of her body. Hein alleges that the Village discriminated against her based on her gender and subjected her to a hostile work environment as a result of the unwanted sexual harassment.

The lawsuit alleges five counts of sexual harassment, assault and battery, negligent hiring, negligent supervision and negligent retention and also claims the Village knew or should have known of the sexual harassment and failed to take appropriate corrective action which resulted in retaliation against Hein for complaining about the sexual harassment and for filing complaints with the Mason City Human Rights Commission.

Village Executive Director John Severtson said due to confidentiality issues he could not say if Hein and Dennis are still employed at the Village.

Hein is seeking damages for each count, including, compensation for past and future suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, punitive damages in an amount appropriate to punish the Village for willful and malicious conduct and to deter the Village from engaging in such misconduct in the future, compensation for all past and future medical and counseling expenses and attorney fees.

April 13, 2009

Dell Denies Age and Gender Discrimination Claims

As a result of the times and massive laysoffs in many businesses, a lawsuit was filed which accuses Dell Inc. of discriminating against women and older workers-age discrimination and gender discrimination. Dell denied allegations that it had treated employees unfairly and said that no layoffs were made on the basis of age or gender. The lawsuit against Dell accused it of segregating women into lower-grade positions with less pay and fewer promotions than men who performed comparably or less well. A former senior HR manager, Mildred Chapman, was denied promotions or pay increases even though her responsibilities were equal to, or greater than, younger male directors, the lawsuit alleged. Dell denied those charges in its response.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and later moved to the Western District of Texas, where the plaintiffs are seeking class-action status. The lawsuit was filed by four former human resources executives who are seeking $500 million for the alleged discrimination. The women charged that Dell and its "old-boy network" discriminated against women and employees over 40 in areas including pay, promotions and layoffs. All fourteen members of the Dell management team were males at the time the lawsuit was filed.

"Consistently and at all times, Dell acted in good faith and maintained, implemented and enforced a policy in its workplaces against discrimination, harassment and retaliation," the company said.
April 10, 2009

Illinois Supreme Court Update--Illinois Human Rights Act Doesn't Bar Federal and State Claims

The Illinois Supreme Court held in Blount v. Stroud, 2009 WL 153862 (Ill Sup Ct. 2009) that the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act") doesn't preclude employees who file a claim under the Human Rights Act from bringing other claims based on common law, or federal statutes in state court.

Background

Jerri Blount filed a multicount complaint in Cook County Circuit Court against her former employer Jovon Broadcasting Corporation and the owner and general manager. The two counts of interest to his analysis were her common law retaliatory discharge and retaliation under 42 USC Section 1981. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss claiming the Act precluded her from filing in the circuit court. The court rejected the motion to dismiss and she was ultimately awarded over $3 million dollars by a jury. The appellate court reversed holding the Act deprives Illinois Courts of subject matter jurisdiction. The Illinois Supreme Court heard the case and ruled that whether facts giving rise to a civil rights violation as defined under state law might also give rise to a civil rights violation under definitions found in federal statutes was not relevant and Blount had a right to pursue her claim under federal law in state circuit court.

April 3, 2009

Gay employee files discrimination lawsuit against Easton Hospital

A Lower Saucon Township woman, Suzanne Cornish, filed a civil lawsuit against Easton Hospital claiming she was targeted by her superiors because of her sexual orientation and subsequently fired, according to her lawsuit. Cornish claims because she is gay she was harassed at work and hospital officials attempted to coerce her resignation through a "campaign of harassment", which constituted a hostile work environment.

Cornish who worked at the hospital in Wilson Borough as the director of the cardiology pulmonary unit, filed the lawsuit in federal court last week seeking lost salary, damages and attorney fees and to have her position reinstated, according to court records. Cornish alleges hospital officials found out about her sexuality at the end of May 2008 and she was fired Oct. 31. Cornish also claims she was given inaccurate performance reviews that led to her firing according to the Lehigh Valley News.

March 31, 2009

Adelphi University Pays $300,000 To Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Adelphi University agreed to salary hikes and payments totaling more than $300,000 to several female professors as part of a settlement of a federal gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The settlement calls for Adelphi to pay 37 women a total of $305,889 and give raises to 30 of them and also includes monitoring and training on anti-discrimination laws for three years.

The lawsuit, filed in 2007 on behalf of Judith Cohen, an education professor who is also an attorney, alleged that Adelphi was paying female professors less than male professors of the same rank. What happened at Adelphi is commonly referred to as a glass ceiling. In 1995, the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission issued its report on the employment of women at the highest levels of business. The Commission found that within Fortune 1000 industrial and Fortune 500 companies, 95-97% of senior managers were male.

"Working women should never be shortchanged by receiving unequal pay for performing equal work," Stuart J. Ishimaru, acting chairman of the EEOC, said

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March 20, 2009

Over 100 Female Prison Employees File Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

In Florda 111 female employees filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections, alleging they were subject to constant sexual harassment from male inmates. The women who are mostly nurses, said while they made their rounds, male inmates used graphic language and masturbated toward them. 'The conduct is so hostile, notorious and commonplace that it is referred to by prison staff and inmates alike as 'gunning,' '' according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 of the 111 current and former employees and their' right to be free from sexual discrimination and harassment. The woman are alleging the creation of a hostile work environment.

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March 15, 2009

EEOC Files Lawsuit Against HD Supply Alleging Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against HD Supply alleging that a secretary suffered repeated sexual harassment , retaliation and gender discrimination including sexually explicit language, unwelcome sexual advances and inappropriate touching. The EEOC claims HD Supply retaliated against the woman for complaining about the sexual harassment, was aware of the sexual harassment, and failed to take adequate steps to stop or prevent the sexual harassment.

Sex-based harassment and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction enjoining HP Supply from engaging in further discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

"Employees should be able to enjoy a work environment free of sex-based harassment," said the regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, Anna Park.

HD Supply is a leading nationwide wholesale supplier of building materials and has over 2,800 employees nationwide.

March 11, 2009

Neurosurgeon Awarded $1.6 Million in Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

A federal jury of seven men and two women awarded Dr. Sagun Tuli, a Brigham and Women's Hospital neurosurgeon, $1.6 million in her sex discrimination lawsuit against the hospital and against the chairman of her department, Dr. Arthur Day. According to the jury Tuli was subjected to a hostile work environment at the hospital where she has worked for more than six years and the hospital retaliated against her for complaining about the hostile work environment.

Tuli said Day continually made demeaning statements to her while she was operating, telling her during one surgery in May 2007,

"You are just a girl. Are you sure you can do that?''

The lawsuit was filed in December 2007 in Boston case number 2007cv12338.

February 26, 2009

Clay County Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $208,000

Clay County has agreed to pay $208,000 to an employee, Michele Stryker to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit that named Assessor Cathy Rinehart and a former worker as defendants. In the lawsuit Stryker alleged that Rinehart repeatedly allowed Steve Sutterfield, then an employee, to make sexually suggestive and offensive comments in front of her and other female employees, constituting sexual harassment.The lawsuit also claims Stryker and other women in the office experienced gender discrimination in their compensation, travel arrangements and benefits.

In recent weeks, the county settled a fourth sexual harassment lawsuit for $90,000 involving Rinehart. In that lawsuit, Debbie Burr of Kansas City maintained that there was hostile work environment in the assessor’s office during 2003-2004.


February 24, 2009

Trash Removal Company Pays $475,000 to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

Robertson Sanitation, a Phoenix-based trash hauling, recycling and disposal company that operates in Georgia, will pay $475,000 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

According to the lawsuit, Jeanine Moore applied for a truck driver position with Robertson at its Winder, Georgia facility in August 2005, was never interviewed or hired even though she was more qualified than a number of male applicants who were hired. A review of the job applications at that location between January 2005 and September 2006 showed that some of the men hired were less qualified than Moore, including six males who lacked Robertson's minimum qualifications for the truck driver position. The EEOC's investigation revealed a class of similarly qualified women who, like Moore, were also rejected despite their qualifications.

The consent decree (the term used when the EEOC settles a lawsuit) provides $475,000 in monetary relief to the class of qualified female applicants who were discriminatorily rejected for employment between January 1, 2005 and October 31, 2006. Moore will receive $70,000 in damages, while the remaining funds will be distributed among the other qualified claimants whose eligibility will be determined by a procedure set forth in the decree.

Additionally the company agreed to exercise good faith in offering employment to qualified female applicants for residential, commercial, industrial and roll-off truck driver positions at the Winder and Austell facilities and the company is also required to submit a report each year identifying the name, sex and qualifications of all qualified applicants for truck driver positions, the persons offered positions, and the persons hired.

February 22, 2009

Former Female Police Officer Settles With City On Case Involving Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination and Retaliation

Former police Sgt. April Begin, who filed a lawsuit against the city in 2007 in which she alleged her fellow officers made sexual remarks and refused to back her up in dangerous situations because they resented working with a woman was settled with the city of Dearborn. The lawsuit was based on sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation. As part of the settlement she will receive a pension of $57,000 a year for life with full medical benefits, $60,000 in retroactive pension benefits dating to April when she was relieved of her duties without pay, plus $60,000 cash.

The city of Dearborn, which was named as the primary defendant in each of the cases maintained its actions in regards to the officers were lawful and nondiscriminatory but claims it settlemented all three cases because it was in the best interest of the city and police department citing the cost of settling the cases on the terms agreed to by the parties was less than the cost of moving forward with the litigation. Additionally, two of the defenses key witnesses died before trial and that weakened the defense planned by the city.

"It's not sexual that way, like sleep with me or anything like that, it's just that I'm the weakest link because I'm a female kind of thing," Begin said

Continue reading "Former Female Police Officer Settles With City On Case Involving Sexual Harassment, Gender Discrimination and Retaliation" »

February 19, 2009

Are You Losing Good Employees Because of Sexual Harassment?

Women who encounter workplace sexual harassment tend to leave the organization according to research student Chana Levi and Professor Eran Vigoda-Gadot of the University of Haifa. The two surveyed 192 women who work in the public sector to observe whether women who were sexually harassed would tend to leave their place of work, develop behaviors of work neglect or attempt to change the situation by means of taking particular action.

Other findings include one-third of the women reported having experienced gender harassment at medium or high frequency and almost 90 percent of the women never experienced repeated attempts at sexual relations or seldom experienced it.

The study also found that very few of the women reported incidents of sexual harassment at work.

For the purpose of the study sexual harassment was defined as offensive sexually suggestive comments, repeated harassment intended to lead to sexual relations and actual sexual coercion.

February 15, 2009

Silicon Valley City Settles Sexual Harassment Case for $300,000

The City of Concord, located in Silicon Valley, California settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by two former female police officers, who alleged they were discriminated against by male police officers. As part of the settlement the city agreed to pay Denise Dale $250,000 in damages, plus $50,000 in workers' compensation. The second woman, Kristyn Thurmond, will not receive any money under the terms of the settlement.

The sexual harassment lawsuit filed in Contra Costa Superior Court alleged that Dale and Thurmond suffered severe and continuous gender-based harassment and encountered a work environment rife with hostility toward female police officers and that they suffered retaliation for reporting the alleged conduct to superiors. Dale and Thurmond quit their jobs at the Concord Police Department as a result of the harassment and retaliation. They both allege in their lawsuit that higher-ranking officers including Brentwood City Councilman Brandon Richey had sexually explicit conversations in front of them, passed them over for choice assignments with the police department and punished them based solely on their gender.

Thurmond said she was accused of being a coward and was told that she was a poor officer.

Thurmond began working for the police department in 2001 and alleges that a Concord officer took an "inordinate and unwelcome personal and romantic interest" in her in 2002, when he was her field training officer, according to the Mercury News. Thurmond moved to a different squad in 2005, and left the police department in 2007.

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February 1, 2009

United States Supreme Court Allows Parents to Sue School District Over Sexual Harassment of Their Daughter

The Fitzgeralds of Cape Cod filed a lawsuit, based on sexual harassment, against the Barnstable School Committee and former school Supt. Russell Dever in 2002 under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which provides protections under the 14th Amendment's equal protections clause, and the 1972 law known as Title IX, a federal law requiring gender equality in schools. The Fitzgeralds alleged their 5-year-old daughter was sexually harassed by an older student on the school bus for a period of six months--which constitutes school sexual harassment. Additionally, they accused school officials of discriminating against their daughter in the schools response to the alleged incidents.

The United States Supreme Court ruling allows the case to proceed. The Court's decision does not address the facts of the underlying sexual harassment case, only that filing such cases under the Civil Rights Act of 1871 is valid.

According to Stacy Gallagher, director of Children's Cove, a Barnstable-based advocacy center for abused children

"The general feeling is that it doesn't happen in schools and it certainly does, It happens everywhere."

As reported in the Cape Cod Times, Fitzgerald said his daughter, now a middle school student, is relieved after the Supreme Court ruling. "She's extremely happy that there is a court that stood up for her position and affirmed it and affirmed it unanimously."


January 17, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against The University of Pittsburg Medical Center

A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by Lindsey Yeager against the University of Pittsburg Medical Center ("UPMC Horizon") claiming gender bias, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation. Yeager was a nurse when an unnamed doctor pressured her to date him in and then to have sex with him. Yeager agreed to have sex because the doctor said her career would suffer if she didn’t, she alleges.

Yeager said she complained about the sexual harassment to her supervisors and tried to break off the relationship, but the doctor assaulted her. She claims the sexual harassment not only continued but got worse and the doctor had her supervisor issue written reprimands and criticize her without justification-which is retaliation. Yeager was fired six months after she claims she began to have sex with the doctor.

UPMC said the relationship with the doctor was consensual, and it was the doctor who tried to end the relationship. UPMC also claims Yeager falsely claimed to be working when in fact she was attending classes in Pittsburg and that she never reported sexual harassment allegations until her job performance was being negatively evaluated.

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January 15, 2009

Discrimination Lawsuit Based on Gender, Race, Sex and National Origin Filed Against Nixon Peabody LLP

Lawyer Henry Har filed a multi-count lawsuit against Nixon Peabody LLP in Los Angeles claiming discrimination based on gender, race, sex and national origin. In his lawsuit Har claims his former employer made derogatory comments toward women, homosexuals and minorities. Har claims his co-workers asked him if the office administrator had given him oral sex and made other homophobic comments throughout his employment.

Har who is asian-american claims disparate treatment based on his ethnicity and claims he was treated different that white employees. Disparate treatment bases the claim on whether the claimant was treated different than other employees who are similarly situated. In International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held that disparate treatment occurs when "the employer simply treats some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin."

Har claims he suffered great mental suffering, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma and profound humiliation. He is seeking damages to compensate for his lost earning and benefits, punitive damages for wilful and wanton conduct and other compensatory damages as well as attorney fees.

January 9, 2009

Sexual Harassment Issue Asked To Be Decided By Supreme Court

A sexual harassment issue may soon be decided by the United States Supreme Court in Dawn V. Martin v. Howard University, et al., and the decision, if the Court decides to hear the case, will have serious implications for sexual harassment cases in Illinois. The specific issue raised is whether someone can make a sexual harassment claim against the employer under federal-worker protections if the harasser is not an employee. In this particular case an attorney Dawn Martin was stalked by a homeless man while she was working as a law professor at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Martin brought the sexual harassment issues to the attention of school officals and less than a month after she first reported the stalking her teaching contract was not renewed--which Martin claims was retaliation. Martin sued the university in federal court for failure to prevent sexual harassment, hostile work environment and wrongful termination. A federal jury concluded in April 2006 that Harrison's (the homeless man) actions created a "hostile work environment" and that the university failed to take adequate actions to end the workplace harassment. However the jury returned a verdict in favor of the university on the basis that the case did not qualify as sexual harassment, which would have prohibited the employer from retaliating against the employee for reporting the event.

The case appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia which declined to question the jury's conclusion stating " the jury reasonably may have concluded that Harrison's stalking was attributable to his misidentification of Ms. Martin as his wife, not bad behavior based on Ms. Martin's gender." Ms. Martin will now ask to have her case heard by the United States Supreme Court.

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January 8, 2009

Sexual Harassment Of Female Police Officer Settled for $105,000.

Gender discrimination and a hostile work environment were alleged by Sgt. Valerie Scharfe who claims inequitable treatment as Hasting Minnesota's first female police officer. Scharfe will receive $105,000 and her attorney $25,000 after reaching a settlement with the city over alleged workplace harassment involving sexual harassment.

Although a sexual harassment lawsuit was never filed by Scharfe, the city wished to settle the case to avoid the risk of a long drawn out legal battle which could cost the city a large amount in legal fees, the potential for a large verdict against it and the bad publicity a lawsuit may bring. Both parties utilized mediation to help reach the settlement.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "EEOC" the advantages of mediation are:
Fair and Neutral
Parties not the mediator have an equal say in the process and decide settlement terms. Saves Time and Money
Mediation occurs early in the process so legal fees are minimal.

Continue reading "Sexual Harassment Of Female Police Officer Settled for $105,000." »

January 4, 2009

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit By Female Firefighter Settled for $150,000

A sexual Harassment lawsuit filed by female firefighter Stacy Conaway who claims she was sexually harassed by former Assistant Chief John Wagner and that department officials retaliated when the harassment was reported settled for $150,000.

Conaway also claims retaliation as a result of the reporting of the sexual harassment. Retaliation occurs when an adverse action is taken to try to keep someone from opposing a discriminatory practice, or from participating in an employment discrimination proceeding. The day after Wagner’s resignation, Conaway found a dent that looked like it was caused by a firefighters boot in her Chevrolet Tahoe that was parked in the Fire Department’s lot. Soon after reporting the harassment she received less-desirable job assignments--such as being moved from a firefighting position to administrative staff. This is a form of retaliation.

Soon after Conaway began work, she said that Wagner gave her unwanted gifts, including a negligee, a vibrator and an X-rated movie which she threw away. After not first reporting the incident two department captains told Conaway that she should report Wagner’s behavior, but Conaway said she was reluctant to do so because of possible negative consequences.

Then Wagner compared her breasts to the breasts of a woman taking the department’s physical agility test, and said the applicant must have used Conaway’s doctor--Conaway had breast augmentation surgery, and Wagner was aware of it. Conaway’s supervisor became aware of Wagner’s comments and reported them to city officials.

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December 21, 2008

Gender Discrimination Lawsuit: Jury Awards Former Police Chief $235,000

A federal jury in Mobile awarded the city of Prichard Alabama's former acting police chief Yvonne Baldwin $235,000 after determining the city offered her a discriminatory contract based on her gender and then retaliated against her for filing a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in 2006. Sexual Harassment and Gender Harassment attorney Peter LaSorsa discusses discrimination on his website on through his videos.

The six-man, one-woman jury found that the city of Prichard did discriminate against Baldwin on the basis of her gender when it offered her only a two-year contract to be the city's police chief. The male police officer who took the job after Baldwin rejected her two-year contract was given a five-year contract to do the same job. The male police officer also got another benefit in his contract that wasn't offered to Baldwin: six months' severance pay if terminated.

This case involves a legal term called Disparate Treatment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their membership in a protected class. Protected classes are classes based on gender, race, color, national origin, or religion. The central issue is whether the employer's actions were motivated by discriminatory intent, which may be proved by either direct or circumstantial evidence.

Direct evidence is established when the plaintiff attempts to show that membership in the protected class was a motivating factor in the adverse job action. The Plaintiff may offer direct evidence, such as the defendant admitted that it was motivated by discriminatory intent or that it acted pursuant to a policy that is discriminatory on its face. It is no surprise that direct evidence of discrimination is not easy to prove given that most employers do not openly admit that they discriminate

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