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Taboo 2 Bar & Bistro Sued for Sexual Harassment by EEOC

By Peter Levine posted in Employment Law, Law, Sexual Harassment on November 26th, 2013

Sirdah Enterprises, Inc., Owner of Taboo 2, Filed With Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

According to a suit filed by the EEOC, Sirdah Enterprises, Inc., a company that owns and operates Taboo 2 Bar and Bistro, a popular Atlanta-area restaurant and nightclub, has allegedly violated federal law by subjecting female servers to repeated acts of sexual harassment by one of their managers.

The sexual harassment occurred throughout the six servers’ employment, occurring daily for some.  Allegedly, the harassment included groping, indecent exposures, explicit sex related comments, requests for sexual favors, and promises of better working assignments and other benefits if they engaged in sexual acts.  When some of the servers rejected these sexual advances, they were assigned to less profitable areas of the restaurant or had their work schedules negatively changed, which resulted in lower earning opportunities. Although the employees complained to other management about the harassment, nothing was done to stop it.

Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC, said, “Taboo 2 was aware of the sexually hostile work environment to which these young women were being subjected, but failed to take remedial measures as required under the law.  In addition to vindicating the rights of these seven women, this lawsuit is for the purpose of protecting the rights of current and future female employees.”

Alleged Working Conditions Unbearable Due to Sexual Harassment

The EEOC also alleged that because the working conditions were so unbearable five of the six women involved were forced to resign because they could no longer tolerate the abuse.

“This case involves charges of gross sexual harassment where a manager, an individual normally entrusted with ensuring that the rights of employees are protected, took advantage of these women by abusing his position of power,” said Bernice Kimbrough, district director for the EEOC.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the servers, as well as injunctive relief in order to prevent any misconduct in the future.

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

Sexual Harassment Labor Lawsuit Brought Against Salvation Army

By Peter Levine posted in Employment Law, Law, Sexual Harassment on November 22nd, 2013

Human Resources Assistant Alleges Sexual Harassment While Working at Salvation Army

Kimberlea Rhea, bookkeeper and human resources assistant at The Salvation Army since March 2006 is alleges sexual harassment while working for the nonprofit organization.

According to court documents the California labor law lawsuit seeking damages of $1 million, as well as compensatory damages names both The Salvation Army and one of its captains as defendants.

The suit claims one of The Salvation Army’s captains repeatedly approached Rhea asking for her home address. And even though she refused to give him her address, she later saw the captain driving by her home. He then continued, asking for hugs and kisses on the cheek, commenting that she “looked hot” while suggestively looking at her body. Allegedly the situation quickly escalated to the point where the captain talked to Rea about his sex life, inappropriately touched her and followed her around the office.

Complaint of Sexual Harassment Originally Ignored

During December 2012 Rea complained to supervisors about the captains actions but no action was taken. Eventually in February 2013, after even further instances of harassment, the captain was moved to a different section.

At the time, Rea felt humiliated, degraded, embarrassed, and losing sleep as a result of the captain’s actions.

Rea was reportedly told by The Salvation Army that some of her complaints were supported by its investigation and that she was not found to be responsible for the captain’s behavior. Her job reviews had been favorable, including praise for being “a valuable employee.”

The lawsuit alleges Rea was never given a public apology by The Salvation Army, nor were her claims ever publicly acknowledged. She was even told by the corporation they would prefer she simply leave her position.

Furthermore, The Salvation Army’s zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment akin to the captain’s conduct meant that he should have been immediately fired for his actions. Instead, The Salvation Army publicly alluded to his transfer as a reward for a “job well done.” Meanwhile Rhea has been subjected to critical remarks and comments regarding her job performance.

“TSA [The Salvation Army] never provided Rea with a written confirmation of its findings or what actions would be taken to prevent future harassment from occurring,” the lawsuit states. “Rea concluded TSA wanted to merely appease Rea while maintaining a public persona that there was no problem within TSA concerning sexual harassment.”

Peter K. Levine
A Professional Law Corporation
http://www.employmentforall.org/

First Experience with Sexual Harassment

By Peter Levine posted in Law, Sexual Harassment on September 4th, 2013

Heather Huhman was just 15 when she first experienced and reported harassment from a co-worker.

Though the co-worker was ultimately fired, she endured the conduct for several months after she reported it – waiting for her complaint to go up the chain of command.

Though many Americans are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, many don’t report it for fear of retaliation or worries their co-workers will make them feel ashamed.

Thirteen percent of respondents to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll reported having been sexually harassed by a boss or another superior. Nineteen percent have been harassed by a co-worker other than a boss or superior. A full 70 percent said they never reported it.

Indeed, while the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received about 7,500 charges of workplace sexual harassment in 2012 — the actual number of people who have experienced sexual harassment at work is probably much higher, according to Fatima Goss Graves from the National Women’s Law Center.

“It’s a tough situation. You don’t necessarily want to take on the hassle, expense and personal costs that are involved,” Graves said.

Harassment Often Goes Unreported

Victims often don’t report the harassment, Graves said, out of concern that they’ll be made to feel they’re somehow to blame for any unwelcome advances and because the various routes to complain are hard to navigate. In addition, fear of retaliation is a “legitimate” concern.

The HuffPost poll found that one in five women said they’d been harassed by a boss, and one in four said they had been harassed by another coworker. Although less likely, men also reported being sexually harassed — 6 percent said they were harassed by a boss and 14 percent by a coworker.

In addition, 21 percent of respondents to the poll said that they had witnessed someone else being sexually harassed at work. But among those who had, only 33 percent said that they had reported it.

Though many companies have education programs aimed at preventing sexual harassment and policies in place to deal with it after the fact, there’s still a long way to go before the behavior is truly viewed as unacceptable by all workers on the ground.

Harassment on A Large Scale in City Government

By Peter Levine posted in Law, Sexual Harassment on September 3rd, 2013

Seventeen Women allege Sexual  Harassment

In the past weeks, starting on July 10, at least 17 women have alleged harassment saying the 70-year-old former Congressman and current San Diego Mayor, Bob Filner, made unwanted sexual advances.

Irene McCormack Jackson, the mayor’s former press secretary, was the first woman since the scandal broke to bring a lawsuit against the mayor, claiming that the mayor had harassed her. An 11-page suit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, accuses Filner on one occasion of placing McCormack Jackson in what she described as a virtual “head lock” – while he suggested they get married and asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we consummated the marriage?” The complaint quotes Filner on a separate occasion, in the press secretary’s City Hall office, as telling her, “When are you going to get naked? Come on and give me a kiss.”

“I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots. I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women,” McCormack Jackson has said.

McCormack Jackson was hired by Filner in January but resigned in June and is now director of communications for another city department.

“I am saddened by the charges that were leveled against me”

In response to the lawsuit Filner has said, “I am saddened by the charges that were leveled against me. Once due process is allowed to unfold, I am certain there will be a better understanding of this situation. I remain committed to the people of San Diego and the work that needs to be done. My dreams and plans for moving this City to new heights are continuing.”

Calls for Filner’s resignation began on July 11, when former San Diego city councilwoman and fellow Democrat Donna Frye joined two attorneys in leveling allegations that at least one woman had accused the mayor of harassing her.

Filner responded then by acknowledging that he had “failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.”
A number of prominent local Democrats have also publicly urged Filner to quit.

Filner resigned Friday August 30. A special election to replace him has been set for November 19.

Driver awarded $1.5 million in California sexual harassment case

By Peter K. Levine posted in Sexual Harassment on August 16th, 2013

A former truck driving trainee has won a $1.5 million judgment in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against CRST Expedited and its parent company, CRST International. The 45-year-old who had worked out of the company’s California terminal claimed that she had been assigned to a driving trainer who had touched her inappropriately and made sexually suggestive comments, and that the company did nothing to deter the behavior.

According to the sexual harassment lawsuit, after a mandatory 28-day training session the woman trainee quit just one day after getting her first assignment. She said the emotional turmoil experienced during the training forced her leave and search for another line of work.

The court ruling, which included more than $1.1 million for punitive damages allowed under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, found the trucking company failed to prevent a hostile working environment by allowing the trainer to make verbal and physical sexual advances.

The chief executive officer of CRST International said the company plans to appeal.

This lawsuit was also not the first time that CRST Expedited has come under scrutiny for failing to protect female truck drivers from other male employees. Even just last year the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed a class action lawsuit against the company for similar complaints, however, that case was dismissed due to the EEOC’s legal procedures that were used.

However, since then, another claim has also been filed against the trucking firm by a married couple who had wanted to work together as a team for CRST Expedited. The pair filed a complaint that a trainer had made improper sexual advances toward the wife, and had also used degrading Mexican-American racial slurs.

According to the couple, after the two complained about the behaviors, CRST Expedited retaliated and the two were given bad driving assignments and bad dispatch assistance, which caused them to drive off-route and cost them money out of their own pockets.

CRST Expedited has yet to respond to the claims made in that lawsuit.

Source: Business 360, “Female driver wins $1.5 million harassment judgment against CRST Expedited,” David DeWitte, 9 May 2011

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