Category Archives: wrongful termination lawsuit

Former employee sues Playboy for hostile work environment and discrimination

Jenny Lewis, the former Guest Relations Coordinator at the Playboy Mansion, has filed a lawsuit against Playboy Enterprises and Hugh Hefner after the company terminated her on November 4, 2009 while she was on medical leave recovering from surgery.

Lewis alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work environment at the Playboy Mansion for the past year.  In addition, she has accused her former bosses of gender discrimination for demoting several women while refusing to demote any of their male counterparts.

Lewis claims that her termination was unlawful under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and that it happened in retaliation after she questioned practices that she thought might be violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

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UK boss who advocates great workplaces found guilty of workplace bullying

Glenda Stone

The Central London Employment Tribunal ordred Glenda Stone to compensate several former employees after the tribunal found that Stone had bullied them in a “dictatorial and intimidating” manner. 

Glenda Stone is the CEO of a recruitment company called Aurora Gender Management that, ironically, runs the annual Where Women Want to Work Top 50 list.  Stone is also the co-chairman of the Women’s Enterprise Task Force, an organization which strives to encourage and support women in business.

Three former employees testified that Stone created a hostile work environment and that she fired them after they accused Stone of being a bully.  The employment tribunal ruled that Stone must pay David Collier, a former employee at Aurora, £28,567.17 for having wrongfully terminated him. 

Janette King, Stone’s former personal assistant, said that she was fired by e-mail when she confronted her boss about being a bully.  Marianna Karas, 35, another former employee, said, “Glenda was controlling and her approach to management was bullyish, intimidating and inflexible.”

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Virginia law firm sued for discrimination and sexual harassment following “cucumber incident”

A Vietnamese former employee at Williams Mullen, a large law firm based in Richmond, Virginia, has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the firm, accusing it of discrimination and sexual harassment.

The lawsuit states that Robert Eicher, a partner at Williams Mullen, “repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviors and made ethnic slurs.  Shortly after (Hanh Nguyen) Allgood’s hire, Eicher approached Allgood in her cubicle, introduced himself and asked if she was from Viet Nam. When Allgood responded in the affirmative, he then gestured toward her genital area and asked whether her vagina was horizontal or vertical.”

Robert Eicher

In what the lawsuit refers to as the “cucumber incident,” Eicher allegedly put a cucumber in his pants pocket and then hugged and pressed the cucumber up against Allgood’s thigh desipte her attempts to pull away from him.  Allgood complained to management and other employees, several of whom told her that they were also victims of the cucumber incident.

The complaint states that Eicher “often walked around the firm dressed as a doctor showing his gloves and asking female staff if they wanted to be ‘examined.’  Eicher also had several sexual relationships with employees and publicly described his sexual encounters with them.”

Douglas Nabhan, another Williams Mullen partner, often made racially derogatory comments about Allgood’s meals insinuating that she prepared her food with dog and cat meat.  Nabhan also referred to Allgood’s ex-husband as “the wet back” because he is Hispanic.

Douglas Nabhan

Allgood claims that no action was taken by the firm to address her complaints of sexual harassment.  As a result, the sexually hostile work environment allegedly became worse for Allgood.  Moreover, the firm allegedly carried out a campaign of retaliation against Allgood as a result of her complaints, and she was ultimately fired in March 2007.

This is not the first workplace bullying lawsuit that was filed by employees against Williams Mullen.  Last year, seven former and current employees filed discrimination complaints with the EEOC claiming a hostile work environment.

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Teamsters head files sexual harassment lawsuit against union

Helen Green, president and business agent of the Las Vegas Teamsters union office, filed a lawsuit against Teamsters Local 995, Teamsters Joint Council 42 and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for being “subjected to sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation during her employment both as President and as a business agent.”

Green alleges that her boss, Secretary/Treasurer Mike Magnani, took advantage of his position to coerce her into a sexual relationship with him.

The lawsuit claims that Magani “would use union funds to pay for the Plaintiff to travel with him around the state and nation so that he could pursue the sexual relationship. When the Plaintiff sought to break off that relationship, Magnani engaged in a concerted effort to harass and intimidate her in retaliation for her refusal to have sex with him.”

Green allegedly complained to Magnani’s supervisor, Jim Santangelo, about Magnani’s harassment.  Santangelo allegedly told Green that “if she would drop her complaint he would make sure that Magnani stopped the harassment, and if he didn’t, he would remove Magnani from his position. Despite Santangelo’s representations Magnani continued to retaliate against the Plaintiff by creating a hostile work environment and the Defendants did nothing to stop him.”

Green was also allegedly subjected to retaliation and was fired as the union’s business agent after having complained about the sexual harassment.  Green’s attorney, Richard Segerblom, said that he found it ironic that Green had to complain to Magnani’s supervisor, Jim Santangelo, who has also been accused of sexual harassment.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that Santangelo had resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed a Teamsters secretary.

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Ex-WCSX radio DJ files lawsuit for being sexually harassed by her co-host

Lynne Woodison Lyman, the former co-host of the “JJ and Lynne” morning show on WCSX-FM (94.7), filed a federal lawsuit against the radio station’s owners Tuesday, alleging she was subjected to sexual harassment by her co-host James Johnson and retaliation when she complained about the harassment and the fact Johnson was paid more than her.

The lawsuit alleges that Lyman was surrounded by an unlawful hostile work environment where Johnson would show her “nude photographs on his computer screen on a daily basis and would harass her with derogatory terms and sexual references while they were broadcasting on the air.”

The lawsuit states that “Mr. Johnson was also threatened with a lawsuit for his inappropriate behavior in grabbing a female employee at a Greektown Casino event in or about 2003, for which he was never disciplined.”

Lyman claims that, even though she received better performance appraisals while Johnson “was regularly given warnings, negative write-ups, and negative reviews,” he received an annual bonus of about $24,000 that Lyman did not receive.

After Lyman complained about Johnson’s workplace bullying, Lyman alleges that WCSX managers called her a “b—-.”   WCSX station owner Greater Media Inc., also known as Greater Boston Radio Inc., is named as the defendant in the lawsuit.

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Former Editor sues New York Post for discrimination and harassment

Sandra Guzman, an Emmy award winning journalist and former editor at the New York Post, filed a lawsuit against the newspaper for having created a racially hostile work environment and for unlawfully retaliating against Guzman after she complained about the alleged discriminatory treatment and after she publicly opposed a controversial political cartoon about US President Barack Obama.  Guzman was fired from the NY Post on September 29, 2009.

The lawsuit states that “behind the trumpeted headlines and within the four walls of the Post exists a hostile work environment where female employees and employees of color have been subjected to pervasive and systemic discrimination and/or unlawful harassment based on their gender, race, color and/or national origin.  The Post, and its parent corporation, News Corporation maintain, condone, tolerate, directly participate in and contribute to a hostile work environment.”

Guzman accused NY Post editor-in-chief Col Allan of having “actively and directly participated in the discrimination, harassment and unlawful retaliation committed against (Guzman).”  The lawsuit also states that “Allan’s repeated inappropriate and sexist comments and conduct have been widely known throughout the Company.”  For example, the lawsuit accuses Allan of showing Guzman and three other female employees pictures of a naked man on his cellphone and asking them what they thought of the picture.

The lawsuit also accuses Les Goodstein, the Senior Vice President of News Corp., of sexually harassing Guzman by repeatedly telling her that she looked “sexy” and “beautiful” and by referring to her as “Cha Cha #1.”

Guzman alleges that her numerous complaints about the workplace bullying were ignored by company management.

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Lost actor Henry Ian Cusick settles hostile work environment lawsuit

Attorneys announced that the parties settled the hostile work environment lawsuit that was filed against Lost actor Henry Ian Cusic, ABC Entertainment, and production company Grass Skirt Entertainment.  The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

A former ABC production employee, Chelsea Stone, had sued Henry Ian Cusic and ABC for sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination.  In October 2007, Shone accused the actor of groping and kissing her “while making moaning sounds.”

After she complained to supervisors, ABC and Grass Skirt Entertainment allegedly did nothing while Cusic and other employees created a hostile work environment for Stone, who was subsequently fired 12 days after having complained about Cusic’s harassment.

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