Category Archives: bully

Former Whirlpool employee awarded $1 million in sexual harassment lawsuit

A sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Whirlpool ended with the judge ordering Whirpool to compensate the victim for failing to protect her from extensive and ongoing harassment by a male coworker.

During the trial, 56-year-old Whirlpool employee Willie Baker repeatedly made inappropriate racial and sexual comments toward the victim, Carlotta Freeman, over a period of several months, at then end of which Baker punched Freeman in the face.

Freeman, who worked for Whirlpool for more than 16 years on an assembly line in Tennessee, claimed to have reported the racial and sexual harassment on a number of occassions. Her lawyers claimed that although numerous managers were aware of the hostile work environment, the company failed to take the necessary steps to stop Baker’s abusive behavior.

As a result of the harassment, Freeman has suffered serious psychological injuries that include, as her attorney describes, “probably…the worst case of post traumatic stress disorder you’ve ever seen.”

Baker was fired and was later convicted of assault in criminal court.

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Workplace bullying led waitress to commit suicide

A teenage waitress at Cafe Vamp, a popular cafe in Australia, committed suicide after she was subjected to systematic physical and emotional workplace bullying by bosses and coworkers. 

Three men who were implicated in the harassment of 19-year-old Brodie Rae Constance Panlock pleaded guilty to a number of workplace charges.

Marc Luis Da Cruz, the owner of Cafe Vamp, pleaded guilty to two charges that included failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment. 

Cafe manager Nicholas Smallwood and chef Gabriel Toomey pleaded guilty to charges of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons.

The local coroner Peter White testified that Brodie Panlock was “emotionally vulnerable” because of her young age, lack of experience, and low self-esteem.  White said that the systematic bullying and “almost daily routine of inappropriate pressure” that the defendants inflicted on Panlock caused her an “unbearable level of humiliation” and led her to jump from a multi-story car park building in September 20, 2006.

The trial of Da Cruz, Smallwood, and Toomey is set to continue on February 5, 2010.

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Texas oilfield service company pays $60,000 to settle race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit

In September, the EEOC announced that an oilfield service company based in Alice, Texas as agreed to pay $60,000 to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit against the company after it investigated complaints by a white worker who was discriminated against by his Hispanic managers because of his race.  After the worker complained to the HR department about the harassment and hostile work environment, the company allegedly fired him in retaliation. 

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Bahama Breeze pays $1.3 million to settle racial harassment lawsuit

The Bahama Breeze restaurant chain agreed to settle an EEOC racial harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of 37 black workers at the Bahama Breeze restaurant in Beachwood, Ohio.  Bahama Breeze has agreed to pay $1.26 million to settle the lawsuit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had accused managers at the Beachwood restaurant of ongoing acts of racial harassment and workplace bullying directed against its black workers.  Black workers were frequently called offensive names such as “stupid n—–r,” “homeboy,” “Aunt Jemima,” and “you people.” 

Managers would imitate the stereotypical black mannerisms and speech.  In addition, black workers were often denied breaks while their white coworkers were allowed breaks.  Even though the workers complained about the harassment, Bahama Breeze management did not stop the abusive behavior.

EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said, “No worker should ever have to endure a racially hostile work environment in order to earn a paycheck.  It is particularly disturbing when managers engage in and condone the very unlawful conduct they are required to prevent and correct.  This sizeable settlement should remind employers of the possible consequences of a failure to promote and maintain a discrimination-free workplace.”

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Jefferson County administrator fired following discrimination lawsuits

The three commissioners of Colorado’s Jefferson County unanimously voted to fire county admininstrator Jim Moore after he and the county were sued for age- and sex-discrimination by two former employees.

Settling the lawsuits has cost the county $766,000.  The former employees, Judy Goebel and Jerelyn Bower, claimed that Moore created a hostile work environment and then fired them in 2007 because of their age and gender.

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Brigham Hospital surgeon quits after being sued for sex discrimination

Dr. Arthur Day, chairman of the neurosurgery department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has announced that he will resign his position at the end of the month.

In December 2007, Day was sued by one of his employees, neurosurgeon Dr. Sagun Tuli, who alleged that Day subjected her to sex discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.  Tuli filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and a jury awarded her $1.6 million earlier this year.

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Phoenix car dealers pay $500,000 to settle EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit

Phoenix-based car dealerships Bell Road Kia and Bell Road Automall have agreed to pay $500,000 to five former employees to settle a racial and sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

The five employees were all allegedly demoted, terminated, or forced out after they complained about the harassment.  They claim that both dealerships knew about and tolerated a racially and sexually hostile work environment from 2002-2005 where female employees were propositioned for sexual favors and were called derogatory names.

The lawsuit claims that bosses at Bell Road Kia and Bell Road Automall often viewed pornography on company computers, and one manager masturbated while sitting behind a female employee.

The employees also allege that racial harassment and the use of racial slurs was common at the dealerships.  One manager allegedly told a black employee that he was “only needed when there was a black customer so he could speak his ebonics and close the deal.”

Robert Alexander, owner of Bell Road Kia, said, “We have no comment on the settlement or allegations with EEOC. We are family-owned and operated, we strive for a friendly and happy work environment for our employees.”

Robert Alexander and Allen Holzhauer sold the auto mall in 2007, but continue to manage Big Bell Road Kia.

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