Monthly Archives: October 2009

Newspaper apparently settles $15 million workplace bullying lawsuit

There are reports that former Asheville Citizen-Times Editor Susan Ihne has settled her $15 million wrongful termination lawsuit against newspaper Publisher Randy Hammer and the newspaper’s parent company, Gannett Co.  The terms of the settlement haven’t been disclosed.

The lawsuit, filed by Susan Ihne in December 2008, claimed that she suffered from workplace bullying while working with Randy Hammer.  Ihne claimed that Hammer began bullying and harassing her shortly after he started working at the newspaper in october 2007. 

The lawsuit stated “that this harassment and bullying consisted of yelling and raising his voice at the Plaintiff, belittling and degrading her on the job, and misusing his power in a calculated effort to destroy her self-confidence and get her to resign from her job.”

Ihne also claimed that Hammer threatened to fire her and ordered her not to contact corporate headquarters concerning him.  Hammer “created a hostile work environment by his abusive conduct,” according to the lawsuit.

Ihne informed Gannett’s upper management about Hammer’s harassment and abusive conduct, but she claimed that Gannett failed to take action.  Furthermore, the lawsuit stated that Ihne was fired in May 2008, and Ihne claimed that the termination was “due to age discrimination and sex discrimination.”

Ihne joined the Citizen-Times in October 2005.  In a 27-year career with Gannett, Ihne worked for a number of newspapers as a reporter and manager. She was awarded the Gannett’s top honor for an editor — a President’s Ring — in 1999 and again in 2005.

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Dodgers ex-CEO sues husband for ‘creating hostile work environment’

On Tuesday, Jamie McCourt filed to divorce her husband, Frank McCourt, who is a co-owner of the Dodgers baseball team.  Frank McCourt fired Jamie McCourt from her position as the Dodgers CEO last week.

Jamie McCourt

Jamie McCourt

Jamie McCourt alleges that her husband created a hostile work environment for her as their marriage began to deteriorate.  She said that she filed a formal complaint about the hostile work environment with the Dodgers’ general counsel last month.

In her divorce filing, Jamie McCourt is asking to be reinstated as CEO of the Dodgers and to receive her salary and all of the perks that she previously enjoyed, such as travel by private Net Jets planes and unlimited reimbursements for travel expenses.

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North Pole councilwoman resigns amid hostile work environment complaints

The Councilwoman of North Pole City in Alaska, Victoria Thompson, announced her resignation after a number of employees complained that she created a hostile work environment at City Hall. 

Thompson apparently resigned in order to protect the municipality from potential discrimination and harassment lawsuits from the complaintants, who claimed that Thompson often made inappropriate comments to employees, pounded her fists on tables, and spread rumors around the workplace.

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UMD instructor Rod Raymond investigated for sexual harassment and creating hostile work environment

Following complaints by numerous women about a pattern of sexually inappropriate behavior by University of Minnesota Duluth fitness instructor Rod Raymond, the UMD Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity conducted an investigation.

In her investigation, UMD director Deborah Petersen-Perlman heard from numerous women who said that Raymond made sexual advances toward them in “a pattern of sexually inappropriate language and behavior.”  Raymond also allegedly retaliated against some of the women complained about his harassment.

Rod Raymond

Rod Raymond

Petersen-Perlman’s July 2009 report concluded that “by not taking a strong stand against this behavior, we place UMD in a vulnerable position vis-à-vis a lawsuit with respect to sexual harassment.”

Though Petersen-Perlman’s investigation recommended that Raymond be fired for creating “a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment,” UMD administrators chose to allow Raymond to keep his job, where he still teaches today, and to limit their actions to a few light sanctions.

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Former VP sues Anheuser-Busch for sex discrimination

Francine Katz, a former high profile vice president of communications and consumer affairs at Anheuser-Busch, has filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against the beer company.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery, St. Lewis

Anheuser-Busch Brewery, St. Lewis

Katz alleges that Anheuser-Busch maintained a male-dominated “locker room” work environment and culture that “adversely impacts women” and that pays women lower salaries and offers them fewer opportunities in top jobs.

Katz alleges she was paid less than half of what her male predecessor, John Jacob, had been making in the same position.

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Boss at Bath and Body Works accused of religious discrimination

A former sales manager at Bath and Body Works has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the retailer for firing her on the basis of her religious beliefs.

The sales manager, who is a member of the Wiccan religion, had asked her boss, Sandra Scibelli, for time off so that she could celebrate the Wiccan new year religious holiday.

Scibelli told the sales manager, “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard….you will ned a new career in your new year.  I will be damned if I have a devil-worshipper on my team.”

The sales manager was fired on November 2008 after she returned from her holiday vacation.  She is suing Bath and Body Works for lost wages and punitive damages for religious discrimination.

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David Letterman accused of sexual harassment and creating hostile work environment

Nell Scovell, a former writer for the Late Night with David Letterman show, wrote an article that was published today in Vanity Fair about her experience working with David Letterman

She mentioned the fact that the section of sexual harassment law called sexual favoritism that, according to the EEOC, can lead to a hostile work environment that is often “demeaning to women,” accurately describes her experience working with Letterman on the Late Night show.

Though Scovell accused David Letterman of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment, she apparently is not interested in filing a lawsuit nor does she want to be compensated for Letterman’s discriminatory behavior.

The following is an excerpt from Scovell’s article:

Without naming names or digging up decades-old dirt, let’s address the pertinent questions. Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.

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