Category Archives: retaliation

Professors sue and demand ouster of Edison College president

Trouble seems to be brewing for Kenneth Yowell, president of Edison Community College in Piqua, Ohio, who has drawn criticism from a number of Edison professors. 

Charles Quincy Essinger, a former adjunct professor filed a lawsuit against Yowell and the college for allegedly unlawfully firing him in retaliation for videotaping a board meeting in April 2009 in which the faculty held a no-confidence vote in Yowell.  Essinger also accuses Yowell of writing an email in July that attacked his character and competence.

Stephen Marlowe, an Edison professor whose recent contract-violating layoff outraged faculty members, has been reinstated by the college after his union agreed to drop all of its formal grievances against Yowell and the college. Despite the victory, Marlowe and local union leaders continue to express their dissatisfaction with the leadership of Kenneth Yowell.

Marlowe and a number of other faculty leaders believe that he was laid off because of his recent public criticism of Yowell, both in his involvement with a no-confidence vote in Yowell and as the editor of the local union news blog.

In reacting to his reinstatement, Marlowe said, “We won the battle but not the war. My termination was the last in a series of really heavy handed missteps in leadership. My case was symbolic of what many people have suffered for the last 20 years of (Yowell’s) leadership. The only reasonable outcome of this situation is that (Yowell) retire.”

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12 black employees sue Cleco Corp for racial discrimination

Twelve current or former black employees of Cleco Corp., an energy company based in Pineville, Louisiana, filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly subjecting them to racial discrimination and a hostile work environment where bosses encouraged “racist and dicriminatory comments”.

In addition, the lawsuit says that the company retaliated against employees who complained to Cleco management about the workplace bullying.

The black employees allege that they “were routinely denied promotion while (Cleco promoted) similarly situated white employees with less experience, education and training.”

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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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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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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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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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