Daily Archives: November 24, 2009

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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