Understanding Employee Rights: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

McDonald's franchise pays $1,997,500 in sexual harassment lawsuit.

The battle against sexual harassment in workplaces is one we should all be fighting. This provides a healthy work environment and supports the smooth operation of businesses. To illustrate this, I want to delve into the specifics of a recent case, EEOC v. AMTCR, Inc., AMTCR Nevada, Inc., and AMTCR California, LLC.

In this case, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) accused these affiliated entities that own and operate 21 McDonald’s franchises of subjecting male and female employees to sexual harassment. The harassment resulted in the constructive discharge of some employees. The charging party was a teenager who was subjected to sexual comments and advances, along with unwanted touching. Despite the complaints the charging party and his mother lodged, management took no corrective action. Instead, a manager suggested that the charging party should take the conduct as a compliment.

“Young workers are particularly vulnerable to harassment in the workplace as they are more likely to be unaware of their rights and can be taken advantage by their employer,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office

Regrettably, this was not an isolated incident. Other male and female employees, some of them teenagers as well, were subjected to groping, sexually explicit comments, and sexual requests from coworkers and managers. A particularly disturbing event revealed that one male general manager conditioned hire on the acquiescence of male applicants to dates and sexual activity.

This case was resolved with a 3-year consent decree, providing $1,997,500 to 41 individuals and equitable relief. Nonetheless, it brings to light the drastic consequences of workplace sexual harassment and the subsequent legal actions that can ensue.

The law protects employees from sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the law, “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer… to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin…”

The EEOC v. AMTCR case demonstrates how crucial it is for employers to foster a safe and respectful work environment. This includes having strict measures in place to prevent, address, and punish any form of sexual harassment. After all, every employee has a right to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.

$200,000 to Clean Up a Hostile Work Environment of Sexual Harassment

The law ensures a workplace free from sexual harassment -Helmer Friedman LLP.

The settlement reached with The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley underscores a pivotal moment in addressing workplace sexual harassment and retaliation

In a compelling tale of courage and justice, employees at The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley, a cleaning service provider in eastern Wisconsin, stood up against the indignities and violations they faced at work.

“Sexual harassment violates the law, and this case shows despite all the public attention the issue has received, female workers remain vulnerable to harassment in the workplace because of their sex,” said Diane Smason, acting district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District.

The Cleaning Authority’s website boasts, “Professional Cleaning that leaves you stress-free.” However, this claim starkly contrasts with the experiences shared by employees, who describe a workplace riddled with stress and unfair practices. It’s ironic considering both the company’s promises and the reality depicted by its workforce. On one side, the company guarantees clients a spotless home and a worry-free experience, supported by meticulously crafted cleaning plans and eco-friendly products. On the other side, employee narratives highlight issues such as inappropriate touching, sex-based derogatory comments, and retaliation from management. Balancing these perspectives illuminates the complex nature of workplace dynamics within The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley. Their bravery in confronting adversity and unfair treatment culminated in a significant victory for themselves and other employees facing similar hostile conditions. On September 28, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley, accusing the company of fostering a hostile work environment and retaliating against female employees who resisted sexual harassment.

“An employer cannot fire employees because they oppose sexual harassment or threaten them to deter them from complaining,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District. “Prosecuting such violations of Title VII is critical to ensuring the law fulfills its purpose.”

Imagine working a physically demanding job while enduring an employer’s inappropriate behavior and harassment. The job’s physical requirements are exhausting, demanding daily energy and endurance. The emotional burden of unwanted advances and improper conduct from an employer adds a distressing dimension to an already challenging situation. Employees often feel trapped, burdened by fear of retribution and a pervasive sense of helplessness. Against this backdrop, the significance of the employees’ actions at The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley becomes evident; their resistance to harassment is a personal triumph and a beacon of hope for others in similar circumstances.

The lawsuit revealed instances of inappropriate touching, derogatory comments based on sex, and other harassing behaviors. Some employees felt compelled to quit their jobs, and one was even threatened into early retirement.

In a victory, The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley agreed to pay $200,000 and provide additional relief to settle the lawsuit, as announced by the EEOC on May 15, 2024. However, the impact of their actions extended further. Under a three-year consent decree, The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley will review, revise, and implement robust anti-discrimination policies prohibiting sexual harassment and retaliation.

As part of this agreement, all employees will receive in-person training on sexual harassment, with managers and supervisors receiving additional training. Furthermore, an external monitor will be appointed for the first year to receive and review complaints related to harassment and retaliation.

The courage displayed by the employees has led to a substantial settlement and driven systemic changes at The Cleaning Authority-Fox Valley. Their brave actions serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight against illegal sexual harassment, retaliation, and hostile work environments that regrettably persist today.

Sexism, Sexual Harassment, Hostile Environment at FDIC

Sexual harassment and discrimination lawyers. Non-compete agreements something akin to indentured servitude.

Shattered Career Dreams

Navigating Allegations and Accountability in Federal Agencies

The Wall Street Journal recently featured a compelling investigative report by Rebecca Ballhaus, unveiling a troubling culture at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The article exposes a toxic work environment marred by strip clubs, lewd photos, and boozy hotel stays.

For years, the FDIC has struggled with a pervasive “boys’ club” culture marked by sexism and frequent sexual harassment. This environment has particularly affected female staff, especially examiners, who have experienced discrimination, missed promotion opportunities, and felt marginalized in a culture that favors male accomplishments. The mishandling of misconduct claims has heightened employee turnover, with inappropriate actions by supervisors and managers fostering a consistently hostile work environment. Rather than address the core issues, the agency often merely transferred perpetrators, a move widely criticized for its ineffectiveness.

“The kind of abuses that were documented in the report are a totally unacceptable way to treat employees at the FDIC and not in line with the core values of the Biden administration,” Yellen told reporters.

Initially optimistic and ambitious new recruits quickly become disenchanted with the workplace, stifled under a glass ceiling maintained by improper conduct and a prevailing boys’ club attitude. Alarming are the claims tied to events led by field supervisor Hien “Jimmy” Nguyen, showcasing the blurred lines and poor judgment that perpetuate this toxic environment. Despite these allegations, Nguyen’s advancement within the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency highlights a disturbing lack of accountability in federal financial regulatory bodies.

Amidst the controversy stands Kevin Burnett, a former senior examiner at the FDIC, who provides a firsthand account of the toxic culture permeating the agency. Burnett’s experience, marked by over a decade of service, reflects a workplace fraught with challenges not just from the nature of the work itself but from a deeply embedded culture of exclusion and impropriety. He recounts instances where professionalism was overshadowed by the personal indulgences of his colleagues, leading to an environment where serious work and meritocracy were often sidelined. His observations shed light on a system struggling to reconcile its esteemed mission with the everyday realities of its internal culture, further complicating the lives of those committed to its success. Secretary Yellen’s condemnation of these practices reveals a deep disconnect between the administration’s declared values and the realities faced by its workforce.

Promising female professionals find themselves sidelined, their potential limited not by their capabilities but by a workplace culture that measures their value by their willingness to submit to a demeaning exchange—success at the expense of personal integrity. This toxic environment spills over into their personal lives, where mandatory social events and excessive drinking blur professional lines. Opportunities to lead projects are dangled and then snatched away, affecting their performance reviews and penalizing them for perceived shortcomings.

Attempts to challenge and change these norms often meet with indifference or retaliation, muffling demands for equitable treatment and sustaining a cycle of inaction. Consequently, the possibilities for career progression are bleak, overshadowed by the toxic dominance of a male-centric workplace. This grim reality forces many talented individuals to exit the FDIC, dismantling their aspirations and underscoring the urgent need for authentic workplace equality. This tale of wasted potential and deferred dreams is a compelling plea for systemic reform.

The FDIC faces severe scrutiny for fostering a work environment steeped in sexual discrimination and harassment, leading to notably high turnover rates, particularly among female examiners who feel marginalized. The tangible impact of this harmful culture extends beyond talent loss. Training a commissioned examiner represents a significant investment, approximately $400,000 over four years. With the resignation rate of examiners-in-training more than doubling recently, the financial strain is considerable, affecting the agency’s fiscal well-being.

Additionally, the FDIC confronts significant financial risks from costly lawsuits over sexual harassment and discrimination allegations. Recent instances of misconduct by supervisors and managers have led to numerous legal actions and complaints, and the agency’s reluctance to implement stringent disciplinary measures has only increased its legal vulnerability.

Beyond the financial costs, the cultural damage is profound. Persistent harassment and discrimination have depleted employee morale, undermining productivity and performance and exacerbating issues like poor mental health among the staff.

In summary, the ongoing culture of sexual discrimination and harassment at the FDIC incurs significant expenses—financially, through increased turnover, legal challenges, and training costs, and intangibly, through lowered morale, hindered employee retention, and a tarnished reputation.

Tesla Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Tesla must pay $137 million to a Black employee who sued for racial discrimination.

Amid numerous allegations of race and sex discrimination, Tesla, the electric vehicle innovator, has recently settled a significant lawsuit. The suit, brought forth by Tyonna Turner, a former employee at Tesla’s flagship assembly plant in Fremont, California, charged the company with sexual harassment and retaliation.

The resolution of Turner’s 2023 lawsuit emerged when U.S. District Judge William Orrick dismissed the case after the parties reached a settlement. The specific terms of the settlement remain undisclosed.

Turner’s lawsuit is part of a broader issue; Tesla is facing several claims of neglecting rampant harassment against Black and female employees at the Fremont site, indicating a troubling trend in the company’s culture.

During her tenure, Turner reported nearly 100 instances of harassment, including stalking by a male coworker. Despite reporting these incidents, she alleges her concerns were disregarded, culminating in her dismissal in September 2022, which she contends was retaliation for her complaints.

In a decision in August of the preceding year, Judge Orrick denied Tesla’s motion to move the case to private arbitration, referring to a 2022 landmark federal law that prohibits mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment and assault cases.

Tesla Encounters Additional Discrimination Allegations

Turner’s ordeal is reflected in six other ongoing lawsuits against Tesla in California state court, all centered on similar accusations of sexual and racial discrimination. Beyond individual complaints, Tesla is battling accusations of entrenched racial discrimination at its Fremont plant. These include actions from a U.S. anti-discrimination agency, a lawsuit by its California counterpart, and a collective action representing 6,000 Black workers, citing racial slurs, graffiti, assignment to less favorable tasks, and retaliation for filing complaints. These cases illuminate systemic workplace issues, emphasizing the urgent need to foster supportive, diverse, and inclusive work environments.

Despite Tesla’s rebuttal of any wrongdoing, the steady stream of lawsuits, especially those concerning racial discrimination, signals a pressing need for Tesla to undertake comprehensive reforms to address these ingrained issues.

Tesla professes a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination, stating it has terminated employees for racist conduct. Yet, the continuous allegations highlight the importance of transparent, proactive measures in addressing discrimination claims.

For companies worldwide, Tesla’s legal struggles serve as a compelling reminder of the significance of nurturing a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusivity. The mandate is clear for all organizations: enforce robust anti-discrimination policies, cultivate an environment where these policies are actively upheld, and ensure employees can express concerns without fear of retaliation. This involves regular audits, training sessions, and forums for ongoing discussion on these vital matters. Organizations can avoid similar legal entanglements and cultivate a diverse, motivated, and innovative workforce. This moment should serve as a wake-up call, urging businesses to review their policies, listen to their workforce, and commit to building a workplace where everyone, regardless of background, is valued and respected.

If you have experienced workplace sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, it’s imperative to contact an experienced employment law attorney without delay. These professionals possess the expertise necessary to assess your situation critically, offer informed advice, and guide you through the complexities of legal recourse available. Taking prompt action is not only about seeking justice for oneself but also contributes to the broader effort of holding organizations accountable for their workplace culture and practices. An attorney can help safeguard your rights and ensure that your voice is heard, marking a step towards fostering a more equitable and respectful working environment for all.

Protecting Our Teenagers From Job-Related Sexual Harassment

Teenagers experience sexual harassment on the job. Prepare and protect your kids.

What could be more exciting and anxiety-inducing than your teenager’s first summer job?

Starting a job is a significant moment that marks the transition into adulthood. It brings new responsibilities and opportunities. Research has shown that having these experiences, whether working in a restaurant, mowing lawns, or working in a family business, can have many benefits. Teenagers can gain independence, valuable job and life skills, and experiences that can help them transition into adulthood.

However, what should be a positive step can take a harrowing turn when the workplace becomes grounds for abuse. Today, the alarming reality is that sexual harassment is not just a risk confined to corporate settings but is increasingly common in the first job scenarios that many teenagers find themselves in.

Your child’s excitement for that first day of work is often matched with the anxiety of a million parental what-ifs. But in the shadows of those concerns looms a particularly distressing question about their safety from the risk of harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, yet it continues to stain the environment our teenagers enter with trepidation and expectations.

The first shield against workplace abuse is parental guidance. Preparing your kids for their first job means more than just providing your teen with a packed lunch and a pat on the back. It means giving them the tools to recognize and confront inappropriate behavior. Open and honest conversations about what constitutes harassment and how to respond can significantly empower them. Make sure they understand that anything that feels uncomfortable should be addressed. Building a trusting relationship with your teenager is crucial, and letting them know they can come to you with any concerns or questions.

We want to send a clear and opposing message: every worker has a right to a workplace free from sexual harassment, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable. Nancy Sienko, director for the EEOC’s San Francisco District. In the realm of a teenager’s first job, power dynamics are often skewed, anchored in age, experience, and position. A young manager, though closer in age, holds a significant degree of authority and influence over a teenager stepping into the workforce. This relationship, ideally meant to mentor and guide, can sometimes devolve into a complex web of control and vulnerability. The subtle or overt exertion of power by a young manager can be intoxicating, sometimes leading to abuses of authority. The teenager, eager to impress and fearful of repercussions, may find themselves in a precarious position—torn between standing up for themselves and threatening to lose their job or face workplace ostracism. Understanding and acknowledging these dynamics is crucial for teenagers and their guardians, setting the stage for preventive measures and support systems to safeguard against potential abuses.

Recognizing Warning Signs

Parents need to educate themselves on the issue of workplace harassment and assist their teenagers in recognizing inappropriate behavior. We equip them with valuable tools by teaching them about boundaries, consent, and respect. The EEOC created a website dedicated Youth@Work to helping educate young people about discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Educators’ Role in Empowerment

Teachers can play a significant role in preparing teenagers for any professional scenario. Teachers preparing students for their first job include warnings about the potential abuse teens might face and foster a culture of understanding and dialogue in their educational environment — giving them the power of anticipation and the power of voice.

Business Owner Obligation

Ultimately, employers shoulder direct responsibility. A thorough understanding of the laws governing harassment is more than a legal requirement; it’s the means to cultivate a safe working environment. Proper training and transparent policies, particularly for management, are essential in protecting teen employees. For business owners, staying vigilant about the interpersonal dynamics within their establishment is critical to maintaining a safe and respectful work environment for all, particularly for teen employees. Warning signs that may indicate a potential problem between a manager and a teen employee include noticeable changes in the employee’s behavior, such as increased anxiety, withdrawal from team interactions, or a sudden dip in job performance. Other red flags could be a manager spending excessive time alone with a teen employee, showing favoritism, or engaging in communication outside of work hours without a professional pretext. Employers need to create a culture where these signs are observed and acted upon with discretion and urgency, ensuring that the workplace remains safe for young workers to thrive and grow professionally.

Shocking Cases of Abuse

Recent legal battles have brought to light egregious situations where teenagers have been subjected to abhorrent behavior despite legal protections. These cases not only highlight the vulnerability of young workers but also the stark reality that job-related abuse isn’t solely a point of concern for corporate environments. The responsibility of ensuring a safe and respectful work environment falls on everyone, from parents and educators to business owners and employers. By working together and taking preventive measures, we can protect our teenagers from job-related abuse and create a better, safer future for all.

The Chipotle Case Exposes

The Chipotle case (EEOC v. Chipotle Services, LLC and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 2:22-cv-00279) unearthed a sordid tale of degradation where a male colleague at a Florida outlet not only engaged in sexually explicit comments about a female teenage co-worker but escalated to a physical act. The implications point to corporate culture failures that allowed such an incident to occur and persist.

This case involves workers in their teens and early 20s. These are their first impressions they will they form about the workplace, and it is devastating when an employer permits sexual harassment to continue despite repeated complaints.

Shane’s Rib Shack Retaliation

Similarly, Shane’s Rib Shack (EEOC v. RSPS Holdings, et al., Civil Action No. 5:24-cv-00049)franchisees in Georgia chose to act in blatant defiance of what is right when they subjected a female employee to daily, unwanted advances from a manager that fabricated a workplace environment of fear, degradation, and ultimately, career sabotage when she was fired for complaining.

Teenagers must be prepared if they face workplace harassment, even if employers have taken precautionary measures. If harassment occurs, the first step is to report it immediately to a supervisor or HR. Reporting will begin the documentation process and often results in a quicker resolution.

If internal channels fail to provide resolution, it may be necessary to seek external help. Sexual harassment lawyers are experienced in navigating the complexities of such cases. They can provide the support needed to ensure that the legal weight of sexual harassment laws is used to protect young victims.

Parents, educators, and employers must work together to create a safe and supportive environment for teenagers. By taking a unified stand, we can ensure that our teenagers are not only unscarred by their first job experience but are also armed with the resilience and wherewithal to face the complexities of the working world, no matter the odds.

Unspoken Rides: Addressing the Pervasive Harassment and Discrimination in America’s Auto Dealerships

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive issue in auto dealerships throughout America.

The American auto dealership industry, boasting a backbone of shiny cars and robust sales pitches, hides an alarming and corrosive problem under its hood – sexual harassment. Despite being a cornerstone of America’s retail economy, auto dealerships have become notorious battlegrounds for gender respect and workplace equality.

In this probing examination, we will delve deep into the personal stories that shed light on the struggle many female employees face, survey the bleak statistics that run rampant across the industry, and provide concrete steps and resources for those affected by such improper conduct in their workplaces.

Personal Narratives of Harassment

Personal accounts bring the shocking reality of workplace harassment out of the shadows. In a Utah auto dealership, a former employee recounts days filled with anxiety and fear as her supervisor would casually assault female staff members, dealing out demeaning acts like smacks on the buttocks as casually as if he were giving out office memos.

The situation in Texas paints an equally grim picture, with managers at South Austin Nissan openly and relentlessly parading their predatory behavior. Women working there faced an ongoing onslaught of unwanted touching, lewd comments dissecting their appearance, and invasive inquiries into their private lives.

Moving west to San Francisco, the narrative continues with former employees, all women, who weathered unwelcome sexual advances, offensive remarks, and physical contact—all undermining not only their sense of security but their professional worth.

A Statistical Glimpse into the Workplace

Behind these personal stories lies a staggering trail of data:

  • According to the National Women’s Law Center, a harrowing 65% of women in dealership roles have dealt with sexual harassment at their job.
  • An EEOC study alerts us to over 60 official sexual harassment charges filed in the span of eight years, a period where the true scope of the issue likely exceeds recorded figures due to unreported incidents.
  • An Auto News survey tragically indicates that the immense majority—7 out of every 10 women in the dealership industry—experienced a form of sexual harassment.
  • From an occupational health psychology perspective, the non-physical damages are substantial too, resulting in a workplace rife with dissatisfaction, distress, and high turnover rates.

This data paints a sobering picture: the car sales floor, rather than being a place of negotiation and commerce, is often an arena of gender-based violation and abuse.

Stepping Stones to Change

These harrowing accounts and disheartening figures cannot fade into mere statistics. Change is imperative. To catalyze this transformation, advocacy must be a community affair – everyone is a stakeholder in making dealerships safe environments that uphold gender respect and equality. Here’s what can be done:

  • Workplace Policies – Dealerships must institute clear, robust, and non-negotiable policies against harassment, with transparent channels for reporting and addressing complaints.
  • Training Programs – Regular and compulsory training sessions can educate all employees on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to prevent it.
  • Peer Support – Fostering a culture where colleagues support one another and victims don’t feel isolated or helpless.

Legal Recourse and Support Systems

Empower yourself with knowledge and support:

  • EEOC Guidance – Connect with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for advice and action against employment discrimination.
  • Legal ExpertiseA specialized workplace discrimination or harassment attorney can offer legal counsel and potentially represent your case.
  • Law Enforcement – If you’ve been physically harassed or assaulted, contact the local police.
  • Support from Nonprofits – Organizations like the National Women’s Law Center offer legal resources to women facing discrimination and harassment.
  • Community Networks – Join support groups where shared experiences and solidarity can foster recovery and collective action.

Conclusion: Toward a Respectful Workspace

Making our workplaces safe sanctuaries of productivity and respect demands courage, persistence, and unity. If you or someone you know is enduring sexual harassment within an auto dealership or any workplace, remember that silence benefits only the perpetrators. It’s time to revamp the industry not just from a business standpoint but from a foundational perspective that respects and values all employees equally.

Make Dealerships Safe: Advocate for Gender Respect and Equality

Now is the time for action, for support, and for change. Stand up for a harassment-free workplace, and navigate the road ahead with the dignity and equality every person deserves.

Over $3 Million Award in Racial Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation Lawsuit

Sexual harassment, race discrimination and retaliation lawyers of Helmer Friedman LLP.

A Georgia woman has won more than a $3 million judgment in a racial discrimination, sexual and race harassment, and retaliation lawsuit Marshall v. Tidal Wave Response, LLC and its owner, John Myers.

According to Channel 2 Action News and the law firm Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, Tiphony Marshall won the largest single-plaintiff verdict in the Northern District of Georgia’s history.

“The case involved evidence of virulent racial and sexual harassment of Ms. Marshall,” said the law firm in a press release. “Culminating in a violent incident that caused her to flee from the workplace.”

Marshall was an office manager for the water damage restoration company in the Atlanta suburb of Chamblee, Georgia, and claimed she was subjected to “abusive and misogynistic” treatment by her employer, including being forced to change his baby’s diapers, enduring comments about his penis and racial intimidation.

Marshall began working for the company in February of 2018 but resigned on Aug. 6, 2021, after being subjected to Myers’ harassment on “a near-daily basis,” which ended after a confrontation where he threw hot coffee at Marshall.

Myers forced her to watch his infant and change the child’s diapers, calling it a “task suited for a woman.” He also forced her to do the job of a terminated project manager, commented on his penis size, and mocked his interpretation of Black vernacular.

Myers forced her to watch his infant and change the child’s diapers, calling it a “task suited for a woman.”

“The case involved evidence of virulent racial and sexual harassment of Ms. Marshall,” said the law firm in a press release. “Culminating in a violent incident that caused her to flee from the workplace.”

Other reported harassment included Myers repeatedly questioning Marshall about her sex life and implying she was sleeping with a co-worker. Myers also asked Marshall if she thought a potential employee was “hot” and asked about her breast size. The complaint noted Myers’ making “sexually charged noises” and saying he was “sexually aroused” as well.

The court heard that Myers would also suggest that Marshall “get with” the men he interviewed, and he would often comment on her physical appearance and whether she was wearing form-fitting clothing.

The Tidal Wave owner also falsely told a room full of employees that Marshall had been raped and tried to pay her commissions with $100 bills that he’d rubbed on his crotch area. Myers also made comments about the size of his penis and would yell for Marshall from the bathroom to “come and help [ ] hold it” while he urinated.

The lawsuit also alleges Myers told Marshall and a group of Black and Hispanic employees that he was “better than” them. He also said they would never “get anything better” than their current jobs with Tidal.

The lawsuit also contends that he mocked his idea of Black vernacular, once saying to Marshall, “Do I call you Black? Do I call you African American? Do I say ‘yo, what’s up?’” Myers also “would skirt around the use of derogatory racial slurs” but stopped just before using the slurs. He also allegedly punched holes in his office walls and threatened violence against employees.

The lawsuit states that Marshall confronted her boss about the extra duties on Aug. 4, two days before she left her position with the company. The complaint says that Myers “became irate, shouted profanities, and threw a cup of hot coffee near her,” causing Marshall to “fear for her safety” and flee the office.

The jury deliberated for four hours before awarding Marshall back pay of $50,113.82. She was also awarded compensatory and punitive damages for race discrimination, racial harassment, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation, with the total awarded being $3,470,393.82.

After the verdict, Marshall’s attorney Ed Buckley said Myers and his lawyers fled the courtroom before the proceedings had ended.

“This is the first time I’ve had the defendant and their lawyers flee the courtroom during a trial,” Buckley said in a statement. “The admissions and evidence were presumably so overwhelming that they did not want to face the jury.”

Read more by Niko Mann.

Walmart Pays $87,500 to Settle Unlawful Retaliation Lawsuit

Walmart settles Retaliation Lawsuit.

Two Adult Children Were Unlawfully Rejected for Jobs Because of Mother’s Prior Sex Discrimination Complaint

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc., L.P. (doing business as Walmart stores in Albuquerque) for retaliation. The lawsuit claimed that Walmart Store #835 on Eubank in Northeast Albuquerque refused to hire Ramona Bradford’s adult son and daughter for entry-level positions because Ms. Bradford had filed a sex discrimination charge against Wal-Mart with the EEOC.

Retaliation against employees because of their opposition to discrimination or participation in protected activity, such as filing a discrimination charge, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC also alleged that Ramona Bradford was a victim of retaliation because her two adult children were being denied employment because she was complaining about discrimination and her charge filing.

The consent decree settling the suit provides for monetary relief for the Bradfords, as well as an injunction prohibiting retaliatory practices, training for managerial employees on retaliation, and posting a notice advising employees of their rights under Title VII.

Retaliation continues to be a high priority for the EEOC, which receives more retaliation charges than any other kind of discrimination charges. The EEOC is pleased that this case could be resolved for the Bradfords and mandates that Wal-Mart train its managers about retaliation.

Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes or that impede the EEOC’s investigative or enforcement efforts is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

Sexual Harassment and Retaliation of Tenants

Sexual harassment retaliation by landlord.

Dad, Son Refused to Fix Tenant’s Gas Leak After She Reported Sexual Harassment

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Javier Salazar Jr., Javier Salazar Sr., and Ricardo Covarrubias, a maintenance worker, the manager, and the owner, respectively, of rental properties in Bakersfield, California, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Preying on renters who have few housing options is abhorrent and illegal.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleges that Javier Salazar, Jr., a maintenance worker, sexually harassed a female tenant from December 2018 through March 2019 by repeatedly asking the tenant to engage in sexual acts with him, asking her to be in a relationship with him, describing the sexual acts he wished to engage in with her and persistently commenting on her appearance.

The Justice Department is committed to holding accountable any person in the housing sector who sexually harasses, assaults or retaliates against tenants, from the housing owner to the maintenance worker. A home should be a place of refuge and sanctity, not sexual assault and exploitation, and we will continue to use the Fair Housing Act to hold violators accountable.

According to the complaint, on two occasions, Javier Salazar Jr. touched the tenant’s body without her consent. He secretly took digital photographs of framed print pictures in her home of her and her daughter. The tenant reported Salazar Jr.’s conduct to Salazar Sr., who was both the property manager and Salazar Jr.’s father. After she reported the harassment and threatened to contact a lawyer or the police if it continued, the Salazars refused to fix a leaking gas line in her dwelling, causing her to go without heat for one month and consequently forcing her to move out. The complaint also alleges that the property owner, Covarrubias, is vicariously liable for the Salazars’ conduct because they were his agents when they engaged in sexual harassment and retaliation.

“Sexual harassment in rental housing preys on tenants who are especially vulnerable, including those who rely on their housing provider for critical maintenance services,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to holding accountable any person in the housing sector who sexually harasses, assaults or retaliates against tenants, from the housing owner to the maintenance worker. A home should be a place of refuge and sanctity, not sexual assault and exploitation, and we will continue to use the Fair Housing Act to hold violators accountable.”

“For four months this tenant refused the repeated sexual advances by the maintenance worker at her rental home, and when she reported the sexual harassment, she faced retaliation,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California. “The actions of Salazar Jr. and the failure or refusal of Salazar Sr. and Covarrubias to act on the tenant’s behalf caused her harm and distress. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will hold accountable any landlord who enables or engages in sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act.”

“Preying on renters who have few housing options is abhorrent and illegal,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Demetria McCain of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD will continue to work with DOJ to enforce the law and protect tenants.”

The lawsuit arose from a complaint the former tenant filed with HUD. After HUD investigated the complaint, it issued a charge of discrimination, and the matter was referred to the Justice Department. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victim and a court order barring future discrimination.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is part of the Civil Rights Division in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices nationwide. The initiative aims to address and raise awareness about sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers, or other people who have control over housing. Since launching the Initiative in October 2017, the Justice Department has filed 34 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.

Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of sexual harassment by Javier Salazar Jr., or at rental dwellings owned or managed by Ricardo Covarrubias or Javier Salazar Sr., or who have other information that may be relevant to this case should call the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at
fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or submit a report online.

Edison Sued for Sexual and Racial Harassment

Edison sued for racial harassment and sexual harassment.

Jury Awarded $440 Million in Harassment Lawsuit Against Edison

A Los Angeles jury awarded $ 440 million in punitive damages to two men who alleged they were forced out of their jobs at Southern California Edison after complaining about repeated sexual and racial harassment at a South Bay office.

That decision came after jurors awarded $ 24.6 million in compensatory damages to plaintiffs Alfredo Martinez and Justin Page on Wednesday, bringing the total to more than $ 464.6 million.

These two men had the courage to stand up and report the harassment.

Martinez said he witnessed sexual and racial harassment and abuse during the 16 years he worked at Edison. His lawsuit states one such complaint: Two female workers approached him in March 2017 to complain of sexual harassment. They told Martinez because he was “just about the only supervisor” who could be trusted and had not participated in the harassment.

Martinez alleged that after 16 years at Edison, he had been pushed out of his supervisor job in April 2017 by constructive termination — a claim accusing the employer of creating or permitting intolerable working conditions in order to force out a worker — after reporting widespread sexual harassment and racist language.

SCE’s and Edison’s response was to pretend the problem was limited to a handful of bad actors, ignoring the culture of tolerance for harassment and discrimination that was bred in the South Bay office.

During the eight-week trial, lawyers for Martinez and Page presented evidence they said showed Edison’s South Bay office had a fraternity-like culture in which racial and sexual harassment was widespread, common, and sometimes ignored.

“These two men had the courage to stand up and report the harassment,” one attorney said. “SCE’s and Edison’s response was to pretend the problem was limited to a handful of bad actors, ignoring the culture of tolerance for harassment and discrimination that was bred in the South Bay office.”

Edison’s management did not take the harassment seriously.
The jury award was unusual in that the $ 440 million in punitive damages exceeded by $ 140 million, the amount that their attorney suggested to the jury. The jury awarded punitive damages of $ 400 million to Martinez — $ 100 million from Southern California Edison and $ 300 million from parent company Edison International. The jury awarded Page $ 40 million in punitive damages — $ 10 million from SCE and $ 30 million from Edison International.

The $ 22.37 million in compensatory damages for Martinez is believed to be among the largest in California history for a Fair Employment and Housing Act case.

Edison officials said they would seek a new trial to overturn the verdict.
“The jury’s decision is not consistent with the facts and the law and does not reflect who we are or what we stand for, and we intend to challenge it and seek a new trial,” an SCE spokeswoman said.

In a trial brief, Edison’s legal team argued that the two men had attempted to exploit the “plight of their former female coworkers to create liability where none exists. ” Edison acknowledged in court papers that Martinez and Page reported supervisors ” at the location where they worked were engaging in sexually inappropriate conduct toward female employees. ”

But Edison’s lawyers alleged that Martinez ” violated multiple SCE policies when he falsified the time records of an employee who reported to him. ” In the trial brief, they noted that Page, while reporting the harassment of female colleagues, did not say he was also a victim until later.

Martinez’s lawyers allege that within about 30 days of his reporting the harassment, six retaliatory complaints came in against him. They allege that Edison conducted a sham investigation and used the complaints to push him out of his job.

In court filings, Page alleged that he was threatened with retaliation after he anonymously reported the harassment. Page, who began working for Edison in 2015, transferred out of South Bay to a Fullerton office, but the threats followed him to that location, and he took a leave of absence from which he has yet to return, according to court filings.