Category Archives: racial harassment

Employee fired after complaining about boss on ‘anonymous’ company website

Michelle Miller, a manager at Indiana-based Wireless @ Work, has filed a lawsuit against her company after she was allegedly fired three hours after she complained on a “purportedly anonymous” company website about co-owner Steve Unversaw’s “inappropriate comments” about minorities and his behavior towards women.

Miller claims that Steve Unversaw said black people “tended to be’thieves and con artists,'” that Unversaw accused a black employee of “stealing a phone and ‘acting his color,'” and that he told Miller that “by hiring black employees she was not protecting the interest of the company.”

Miller alleges that after she witnessed Unversaw making “sexist comments” to another female employe, she decided to report the sexual harassment on a company website designed to field such complaints. Three hours later she was fired by Unversaw’s business partner, Wireless @ Work co-owner Matt Clarke.

Miller is seeking punitive damages for being subjected to a hostile work environment and retaliation.

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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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Albertsons pays $9 million to settle EEOC discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of 168 workers

Albertsons agreed to pay $8.9 million to settle three federal discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC on behalf of 168 minority employees who complained of racial discrimination at the Albertsons distribution center in Aurora, Colorado.

Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Jewish employees complained of a hostile work environment from 1995 until 2008 that consisted of racist and anti-Semitic slurs, graffiti, and threats. 

The graffiti in the men’s restroom, which included the word “n—-r” and drawings of black and Hispanic men with nooses around their necks, was so offensive that many workers refused to use the restroom and would wait to relieve themselves outside the warehouse.

Employees allege that even though they complained about the graffiti, it was not removed until years later.  Workers also claim that they heard their white bosses joking and laughing about the racist graffiti.

The EEOC lawsuit alleged that numerous managers knew about and even participated in the harassment and discrimination of minority employees.  Furthermore, many employees who complained about the harassment were denied promotions, given harder job assignments, and were fired in retaliation for having complained.

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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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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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Black employees file discrimination lawsuit against Harbor UCLA Medical Center

Four African-American employees have filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Harbor UCLA Medical Center.  The employees, Zena Branson, Laverne Geh, Vickie Moore and Brenda Lee-Richardson, allege that their boss, Candyce Gray, subjected them to a hostile work environment where they suffered from harassment and were discriminated against because of their race.

The lawsuit alleges that Gray referred to African-American employees as “those people,” mocked their speech, and called them derogatory terms such as”lazy” and “uneducated.”  Candyce Gray allegedly repeatedly slammed doors in the plaintiffs’ faces and threw objects at them.

Under Candyce Gray’s supervision, other employees would refer to the African-American employees as “monkeys” and would tell them to “go back to their cages.”  Management allegedly did nothing to stop this harassment.

The lawsuit also alleges that the Harbor UCLA Medical Center disciplined African-American employees without cause, gave them lower scores on their performance evaluations, and hid promotional opportunities from black employees.

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