Category Archives: workplace bullies

Dave’s Supermarket sued by EEOC for sexual harassment

Last September, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Cleveland-based Dave’s Supermarket, accusing a meat department manager of repeatedly sexually harassing female employees and accusing upper management of knowing about the bullying and not taking steps to prevent it.

The EEOC claims that Dave’s Supermarket manager Jugo Vidic subjected female employees to a hostile work environment permeated with sexual harassment that included making repeated, unwanted sexual advances on female employees as well as exposing himself to his female coworkers.

Dave’s Supermarket Chairman Burt Saltzman said, “We don’t think there’s any merit to (the lawsuit), and it’s under investigation.”  Saltzman also said that Vidic still works at the store.

Dave’s is a Cleveland-based grocery store chain which operates 13 stores in Northern Ohio, employing more that 1,500 employees.

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Lesbian lawyer sues law firm for sexual harassment

After receiving a right to sue notice from the EEOC in November 2009, a former associate of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson is in the process of filing a lawsuit against the law firm for denying her a promotion because she is a lesbian and for not taking action to stop executives from harassing her.

Julie Kamps, a Harvard Law School graduate, worked at Fried Frank from 1998 until January 2009. Kamps alleges that Janice Mac Avoy, a female partner at Fried Frank, sexually harassed her by “knowingly (making) unwelcome sexual advances and sexual comments to Kamps, both alone and in the presence of others.” According to Kamps, Mac Avoy “told Kamps that it was ‘the biggest regret of her life’ that she had not slept with Kamps ‘when she had the chance.'” Mac Avoy also allegedly talked about various sexual acts with Kamps.

Kamps’ complaint also names William McGuinness, chair of the firm’s litigation department, and David Hennes, a litigation partner who allegedly asked Kamps to write a negative review of an attorney that he wanted “to get rid of.” After Kamps refused, she alleges that Hennes began a campaign of harassment against her.

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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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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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Seven black workers sue Dr Pepper Snapple for racial discrimination

Last week seven black employees of the Northlake, IL Dr Pepper Snapple warehouse filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company for failing to stop the harassment, which allegedly continued for more than two years.

The workers claim that Hispanic supervisors repeatedly hurled racial insults at the black employees and called them such things as “donkey,” “monkey,” and “n—-r.”

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that racially offensive graffiti was written across the black workers’ lockers twice this year. 

A spokesman for Dr Pepper Snapple Group said that the company immediately launched an investigation when it received the workers’ complaints and that it fired a number of employees.

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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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