Monthly Archives: November 2009

Wisconsin IHOP ordered to pay $105,000 to sexual harassment victims

A federal jury has ordered the former owners of the IHOP restaurant in Racine, Wisconsin, to pay two former waitresses $105,000 in punitive damages for having been sexually harassed by their assistant manager.

The EEOC, which filed the lawsuit, said that the two waitresses were subjected to a hostile work environment that included “unwelcome physical touching, propositions for sex, and sexual comments.”  The two waitresses were teenagers at the time that the sexual harassment occurred in 2004 and 2005.

The lawsuit had claimed that the IHOP franchise ignored early complaints of sexual harassment and that the employee who filed the charge of discrimination suffered from retaliation and was fired after she complained about the harassment.

Other waitresses said they faced the same harassment.  They testified that Management Hospitality of Racine, the company that operated the IHOP, failed to correct the situation. The IHOP restaurant at which the servers were harassed was owned by Salauddin Janmohammed, and managed by a management consulting firm, Flipmeastack, which is owned by Janmohammed’s wife.

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Mark Lowe sent female intern ‘vile sexual email’ in Latin

Earlier this month, eBossWatch reported about the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a female employee against UK-based Nomus Capital and its owner, Mark Lowe.  Among the allegations made by the employee, Jordan Wimmer, is that Lowe brought prostitutes to business meetings.

One of the witnesses in the sexual harassment hearing, Ariane Gordji, testified about an email exchange that she had with Lowe where he sent her a vile message in Latin.

Gordji, an intern in her 20s at Nomus Capital who new about Lowe’s knowledge of an interest in the Latin language, sent him a Biblical quote in Latin which means “love your enemy.”

Lowe responded to Gordji’s email with a quote from the first century Roman poet, Catullus: “Irrumabo vos, et pedicabo vos.”  Not knowing the meaning of this statement, Gordji testified that she ran a search on Google and was “shocked and confused” when she discovered that the quote that Lowe sent her means, “I will sodomize you and face-f**k you.”

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Media company GDS International sued for sex and religious discrimination

Lobna Abdelrehim, a 26-year-old Egyptian-American employee at GDS International, has filed a lawsuit against the media company alleging gender and religious discrimination and for retaliation after she objected to the alleged workplace discrimination.

Lobna Abdelrehim

Abdelrehim’s lawsuit states that she has been subjected to an “overtly and disturbing sexually hostile work environment” at GDS International’s Wall Street offices. The complaint describes a workplace that is “rife with unwelcome sex-based bodily contact, such as hugs, patting, and face and forehead kissing.”

Abdelrehim alleges that sexually inappropriate company-wide emails referring to topics such as “MILFs” were regularly distributed.  In addition, her lawsuit claims that she and other saleswomen were given “overtly sexist and demeaning sales propaganda, exhorting [them] to use their feminine wiles as a sale closing technique.” 

For example, one company memo was entitled “Using your SEX to Sell and the Boulevard to Bombshell Bitchiness,” which included tips for female employees to “flirt to get what [you] want” and how female employees “can get away with being aggressive because its sexy.”

Abdelrehim, a Muslim, also claims that religious discrimination against Muslims was common at GDS International.  For example, emails were circulated among employees “depicting men in Muslim garb as raging homicidal terrorists.”

After Abdelrehim complained to the HR manager about the hostile work environment, she alleges that company management “made no attempt to credibly investigate, let alone redress,” her complaints.  Instead, she claims that she was retaliated against for having complained by being demoted shortly afterwards, and she was told that she would be fired if she didn’t achieve an extremely high and “unrealistic” sales quota.

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Employee files lawsuit after bosses ridicule her for celebrating Thanksgiving

Promila Awasthi, an Indian-born American citizen who works at Infosys as a computer consultant, filed a lawsuit on Monday that accuses her bosses of subjecting her to a hostile work environment that included being ridiculed Awasthi for celebrating American holidays like Thanksgiving and not being compensated for overtime hours worked.

Awasthi, who worked at the Infosys office in Fremont, CA from February to November 2008, described the working conditions there as being “intolerable.”  Infosys is one of the large India-based technology outsourcing companies that has recently been expanding its presence in the US to try to halt criticism that these firms are outsourcing American jobs overseas.

The lawsuit alleges that Infosys bosses routinely criticized Americans, including Awasthi, for not having “family values,” and they stated that layoffs in America are good because those jobs will then be outsourced.   Awasthi claims that her managers told her that she should not be celebrating Thanksgiving because she is Indian, and they insisted that she work on Thanksgiving Day.

Infosys management also allegedly harassed Awasthi and her children for celebrating Thanksgiving and called them derogatory terms such as “ABCD,” which stands for “American-Born Confused Desi,” which is used to mock people of Indian ancestry who identify with and have integrated into American culture.

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Virginia law firm sued for discrimination and sexual harassment following “cucumber incident”

A Vietnamese former employee at Williams Mullen, a large law firm based in Richmond, Virginia, has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the firm, accusing it of discrimination and sexual harassment.

The lawsuit states that Robert Eicher, a partner at Williams Mullen, “repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviors and made ethnic slurs.  Shortly after (Hanh Nguyen) Allgood’s hire, Eicher approached Allgood in her cubicle, introduced himself and asked if she was from Viet Nam. When Allgood responded in the affirmative, he then gestured toward her genital area and asked whether her vagina was horizontal or vertical.”

Robert Eicher

In what the lawsuit refers to as the “cucumber incident,” Eicher allegedly put a cucumber in his pants pocket and then hugged and pressed the cucumber up against Allgood’s thigh desipte her attempts to pull away from him.  Allgood complained to management and other employees, several of whom told her that they were also victims of the cucumber incident.

The complaint states that Eicher “often walked around the firm dressed as a doctor showing his gloves and asking female staff if they wanted to be ‘examined.’  Eicher also had several sexual relationships with employees and publicly described his sexual encounters with them.”

Douglas Nabhan, another Williams Mullen partner, often made racially derogatory comments about Allgood’s meals insinuating that she prepared her food with dog and cat meat.  Nabhan also referred to Allgood’s ex-husband as “the wet back” because he is Hispanic.

Douglas Nabhan

Allgood claims that no action was taken by the firm to address her complaints of sexual harassment.  As a result, the sexually hostile work environment allegedly became worse for Allgood.  Moreover, the firm allegedly carried out a campaign of retaliation against Allgood as a result of her complaints, and she was ultimately fired in March 2007.

This is not the first workplace bullying lawsuit that was filed by employees against Williams Mullen.  Last year, seven former and current employees filed discrimination complaints with the EEOC claiming a hostile work environment.

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CEO Doctor at Munster’s Medical Specialists sued for sexual harassment

Sally Gibbs, former CEO of Munster’s Medical Specialists Centers of Indiana, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company’s current CEO, Dr. Alex Stemer.  Gibbs has accused Alex Stemer of making unwanted sexual advances and then firing her after she refused his advances.

Gibbs claims that Stemer made frequent unwelcome sexual remarks the entire time she worked with him and that he tried to kiss her on at least one occassion.  After she rejected his attempt to kiss her, Gibbs alleges that Stemer stormed off angrily.  The lawsuit mentions one instance where Stemer allegedly told Gibbs, “I can feel your blood running through my veins,” and “our organs should be connected.”

In the lawsuit, Gibbs has also accused Stemer of planning “to obtain higher Medicare reimbursement rates by falsifying medical records and by billing for services that were not actually provided.”

Gibbs alleges that she was fired in 2008 in retaliation for refusing Stemer’s sexual advances and for opposing his plans to commit Medicare fraud.

Before filing this lawsuit, Gibbs filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After the EEOC did not act on her claim within the required 180 days, it approved Gibbs’ request to file a private lawsuit. 

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Former Washington Times editor files discrimination complaint with EEOC

Richard Miniter, the former editorial page editor and vice president of opinion for the Washington Times, has filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC against the newspaper.

Miniter alleges that he was “coerced” by company executives into attending a Unification Church religious ceremony last December that he deemed “creepy.”  The Washington Times is owned by officials of the Unification Church.

Miniter claims that he “was made to feel there was no choice” other than attending the religious ceremony if he wanted to keep his job.  He also said that Washington Times executives gave him “examples of people whose careers at the Times had grown after they converted” and became followers of the Unification Church.

Miniter, a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer and author of several books, was fired unexpectedly in September.  He also filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of age and disability discrimination while employed with the Washington Times.

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