Category Archives: harassment

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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Hostile work environment complaints filed against Sutter Health

Former employees of Sacramento-based Sutter Health have filed discrimination complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) accusing their supervisor, Rosetta Li, of harassment and creating a hostile work environment.  Allegations include racial discrimination, racial bias, verbal abuse, and having to endure a culture of fear and intimidation.
 
Employees that complained to Sutter Health’s human resources were allegedly subjected to further harassment and a hostile work environment.  They reported being berated by coworkers and they claim that Rosetta Li subjected them to demeaning and racially insensitive comments.  These employees allege that they were often told to either quit or face termination. 
 
The complainants allege that Rosetta Li has bullied employees in an intimidating and demeaning manner in the more than 15 years that she has worked for Sutter Health.

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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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The EEOC sues M. Slavin & Sons fish market for ‘horrendous’ male on male sexual harassment

 

M. Slavin & Sons

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against M. Slavin & Sons, a fish market and retailer based in Brooklyn, for creating a hostile work environment for black male employees that included physical and verbal sexual harassment. 

In addition, the EEOC accused bosses at M. Slavin & Sons of making obscene and racist comments towards employees that included company owner Mitchell Slavin telling a black employee to “Go get it, n—-r.”  The complaint states that another manager called an employee “African bastard” and said, “Let me see you run like you are in Africa.”

The shocking male on male sexual harassment allegations accuse Barry Slavin, Jack Slavin, and Julio Pereira of “regularly grabbing or pinching male employees’ buttocks and pushing their penises against employees’ buttocks.”  Chuck Clayton, another boss at M. Slavin, is accused of “frequently jabbing fish hooks into male employees’ buttocks.”

The lawsuit alleges that a number of employees left their positions because of the harassment and that the man who originally complained faced retaliation.

Sunu P. Chandy, an attorney in the EEOC’s New York office, said, “The stunning facts of this case remind us of an ugly time in our nation’s history.  The actions of these white owners, who subjected particularly men of color to horrendous physical sexual harassment and racial comments, must be challenged.  When the employees said that they would fight back against the abuse, the owners consistently told them that no one would listen to their complaints and that no one would believe them.  This suit shows the owners were wrong.”

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Woman sues dentist boss for sexual harassment

Dr. Richard L. Howard, a dentist at Howard & Howard, DDS, is being sued by a former dental assistant named Tanya Stone, who claims to have been subjected to sexual harassment, discrimination, and a hostile work environment.

Stone alleges that Richard Howard put his hands around her neck and made inappropriate sexual comments to Stone.  She also claims that she was forced to put up with printed, magazine, and electronic pornographic materials.  During her employment at Howard & Howard, DDS in 2006-2007, Stone felt uncomfortable and offended by the sexually hostile work environment.

Stone said that she knows of other women who were subjected to sexual harassment at Howard’s dental office.

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Washington State Community College president accused of being a bully

Charlotte Hatfield

Two former employees at Washington State Community College said that the college’s president, Charlotte Hatfield, has bullied employees in an “intimidating” and “demeaning” manner in the seven years that she has worked at the school.

Susan Bayles, the college’s former HR director, said that her reasons for quitting in April 2008 were “routine contempt,” “berating,” and harm to her “emotional and spiritual health” that resulted from Hatfield’s workplace bullying.  Bayles also said that the community college “would qualify as a hostile work environment.”

While at WSCC, Bayles said that she would receive complaints from employees about Hatfield’s abusive behavior on a daily basis.  “There was a real fear there. Folks would leave her office in tears and come to me as the human resources director – and these were not overly sensitive people.”

The former dean of enrollment management, Ann Hontz, said that she suffered mental and emotional abuse from Hatfield.  Though Hontz left the college last summer after working there for 21 years, she said that she still hears from current employees who complain about Hatfield’s toxic behavior.

Despite all of the evidence pointing to the hostile work environment at Washintgon State Community College, the college’s Board of Trustees voted to renew Hatfield’s employment contract through 2011.

In a prepared response to the workplace bullying accusations, Charlotte Hatfield said, “Washington State is known in the community as an excellent place to work.”

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Two women accuse State Farm boss of sexual harassment, assault, and defamation

Obie Sorrell

Kristi Mitchell and Veronica Cobb have filed a lawsuit against their supervisor, Obie Sorrell, a State Farm insurance agent based in Baltimore.  The women have accused Sorrell of sexual harassment, assault, and defamation, and are seeking at least $4 million in punitive damages from Sorrell and State Farm Annuity and Life Insurance Co.

The women claim that Sorrell repeatedly subjected them to sexual taunts, crude language, unwanted and sexually suggestive physical contact, and a hostile work environment.

The day after the lawsuit was filed, a State Farm spokesperson said that the company takes “any allegations of this nature seriously and will be thoroughly investigating the matter.”

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