Sexual Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit Filed Against PureBeauty

A former employee of PureBeauty, Inc. filed a retaliation and sexual harassment lawsuit against the beauty supply retail and salon services chain with locations throughout the U.S. The suit also names the company’s former Vice President of Sales, Brian Pearce, and celebrity hair stylist, Adam Shuman. The Los Angeles Superior Court assigned the lawsuit case number BC343315.

Stacey Stout – PureBeauty’s former manager of the company’s Southern California region – alleges that she and another female employee were sexually harassed by Mr. Shuman. PureBeauty markets and sells a product designed and manufactured by Mr. Shuman – the “Superstar” flatiron – used for straightening hair. In order to promote the product, PureBeauty arranged for Mr. Shuman to conduct product demonstrations at several of the stores in the region managed by Ms. Stout.

The complaint alleges that Shuman, during the promotional events, sexually harassed Ms. Stout and another female employee. Among other things, Ms. Stout alleges that Shuman made incessant sexual comments about sado-masochism, oral sex, and his sexual escapades at the Playboy Mansion. She also alleges that Shuman grabbed her and forcibly kissed her. The complaint also alleges that Shuman pressured one of Ms. Stout’s female subordinates to have sex with him.

Ms. Stout alleges that she complained to several high-level executives, but that no action was taken against Shuman. Instead, she alleges that the company retaliated against her and terminated her employment because she had complained. Prior to the complaints, Ms. Stout was the top performing district manager at the company. Immediately after the complaints, however, Ms. Stout alleges that the company began secretly attempting to solicit negative information about her from her subordinates. She was terminated a few months later.

Commenting about these allegations, Ms. Stout’s attorney, Gregory D. Helmer of Helmer • Friedman, LLP, said, “When an employee encounters unlawful activity at work, she must be allowed to bring those matters to the attention of her employer without fearing retaliation. We should be encouraging, not dissuading, the reporting of unlawful conduct.”

Based in Encino, PureBeauty has stores throughout California, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, New York and other locations.

For additional information or a PDF copy of Ms. Stout’s Complaint, contact:

Gregory D. Helmer
Helmer • Friedman, LLP
(310) 396-7714

Sexual Harassment the Epidemic: Recognition and Prevention

Sexual harassment creates confusion because it blurs the boundary between professional roles and personal relationships. The victim and/or harasser can be a woman or a man and does not have to be the opposite sex. Sexual harassment is a legal term, created for the purpose of ending maltreatment and discrimination against men and women in the workplace. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the number of sexual harassment charges increased from 6,883 in 1991 to 15,618 in 1998. The most commonly reported sexual harassment complaints are: an employee being fired or denied benefits for refusing sexual favors, an employee resigns to escape an offensive work environment, and retaliation against employees reporting unwanted sexual advances.
Sexual harassment includes use of sexist terms, comments about body parts, sexual advances, unwanted touching, gestures, taunting, sexual graffiti, and rumormongering about a coworker’s sexual identity or activity. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Court decisions have also found that certain types of offensive visual displays in the workplace, such as pornography, can be considered sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is not only harmful, it’s costly. Prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. Good policies and procedures provide an effective means for promptly and appropriately responding to sexual harassment complaints. A policy against sex discrimination, particularly one that specifically addresses sexual harassment, is an extremely important method for preventing sexual harassment. This policy should also prohibit retaliation against any person who brings an accusation of discrimination or sexual harassment or who assists with the investigation or resolution of sexual harassment. Find in depth, information and resources for both employees and employers about sexual harassment at

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