Tag Archives: hostile work environment

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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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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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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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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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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