Tag Archives: working with jerks

Wisconsin IHOP ordered to pay $105,000 to sexual harassment victims

A federal jury has ordered the former owners of the IHOP restaurant in Racine, Wisconsin, to pay two former waitresses $105,000 in punitive damages for having been sexually harassed by their assistant manager.

The EEOC, which filed the lawsuit, said that the two waitresses were subjected to a hostile work environment that included “unwelcome physical touching, propositions for sex, and sexual comments.”  The two waitresses were teenagers at the time that the sexual harassment occurred in 2004 and 2005.

The lawsuit had claimed that the IHOP franchise ignored early complaints of sexual harassment and that the employee who filed the charge of discrimination suffered from retaliation and was fired after she complained about the harassment.

Other waitresses said they faced the same harassment.  They testified that Management Hospitality of Racine, the company that operated the IHOP, failed to correct the situation. The IHOP restaurant at which the servers were harassed was owned by Salauddin Janmohammed, and managed by a management consulting firm, Flipmeastack, which is owned by Janmohammed’s wife.

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Employee files lawsuit after bosses ridicule her for celebrating Thanksgiving

Promila Awasthi, an Indian-born American citizen who works at Infosys as a computer consultant, filed a lawsuit on Monday that accuses her bosses of subjecting her to a hostile work environment that included being ridiculed Awasthi for celebrating American holidays like Thanksgiving and not being compensated for overtime hours worked.

Awasthi, who worked at the Infosys office in Fremont, CA from February to November 2008, described the working conditions there as being “intolerable.”  Infosys is one of the large India-based technology outsourcing companies that has recently been expanding its presence in the US to try to halt criticism that these firms are outsourcing American jobs overseas.

The lawsuit alleges that Infosys bosses routinely criticized Americans, including Awasthi, for not having “family values,” and they stated that layoffs in America are good because those jobs will then be outsourced.   Awasthi claims that her managers told her that she should not be celebrating Thanksgiving because she is Indian, and they insisted that she work on Thanksgiving Day.

Infosys management also allegedly harassed Awasthi and her children for celebrating Thanksgiving and called them derogatory terms such as “ABCD,” which stands for “American-Born Confused Desi,” which is used to mock people of Indian ancestry who identify with and have integrated into American culture.

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CEO Doctor at Munster’s Medical Specialists sued for sexual harassment

Sally Gibbs, former CEO of Munster’s Medical Specialists Centers of Indiana, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company’s current CEO, Dr. Alex Stemer.  Gibbs has accused Alex Stemer of making unwanted sexual advances and then firing her after she refused his advances.

Gibbs claims that Stemer made frequent unwelcome sexual remarks the entire time she worked with him and that he tried to kiss her on at least one occassion.  After she rejected his attempt to kiss her, Gibbs alleges that Stemer stormed off angrily.  The lawsuit mentions one instance where Stemer allegedly told Gibbs, “I can feel your blood running through my veins,” and “our organs should be connected.”

In the lawsuit, Gibbs has also accused Stemer of planning “to obtain higher Medicare reimbursement rates by falsifying medical records and by billing for services that were not actually provided.”

Gibbs alleges that she was fired in 2008 in retaliation for refusing Stemer’s sexual advances and for opposing his plans to commit Medicare fraud.

Before filing this lawsuit, Gibbs filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After the EEOC did not act on her claim within the required 180 days, it approved Gibbs’ request to file a private lawsuit. 

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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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School bus company Berry Services sued for sexual harassment

In late September, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against New Orleans-based school bus provider Berry Services Inc. for retaliating against employees who complained about sexual harassment.

The owner of Berry Services, Milton Berry, has been accused of sexual harassment by at least three female employees during 2003-2007. 

One of the alleged victims, Lakisha Baker, claims that Berry sexually propositioned and touched her on her first day of work in November 2006 and then harassed her on a daily basis until firing her in February 2007 in retaliation after Baker refused Berry’s order to call him to discuss having sex. 

The lawsuit states that “on one occasion Mr. Berry pulled her pants down and tried to touch her” and that Berry also offered Baker a promotion or salary increase in exchange for oral sex.

Michelle Butler, senior trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said that although none of the alleged incidents of sexual harassment occurred in the presence of school students, she was still concerned that “he is providing service to where he would have access to children.”

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EEOC sues Boh Bros. for alleged sexually hostile work environment

The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Boh Bros. Construction Co. for allegedly subjecting a male employee to sexual harassment and a hostile work environment that consisted of repeated “unwelcome verbal and physical sexual taunting, innuendo, and sexual advances” by the site superintendent at a post-Hurricane Katrina bridge repair project.

The lawsuit claims that ironworker Kerry Woods was harassed in 2006 by the superintendent, who accused Woods of being a homosexual and who stood behind him and pretended to have anal sex with him.

After Woods complained about the workplace bullying, Boh Bros. allegedly retaliated against him by transferring him to another company facility and reducing his salary.  Woods was then fired in early 2007 shortly after his transfer.

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Administaff and Conn-X sued by EEOC for anti-Semitic workplace bullying

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against staffing company Administaff, Inc. and Conn-X, LLC, a cable service provider in Baltimore, for subjecting Jewish employees to religious discrimination and workplace bullying.

The lawsuit claims that the two companies subjected Scott Jacobson and Joey Jacobson, who are brothers, to physical and verbal harassment and a hostile work environment because of their religion, Judaism. The victims claim that from September 2005 and continuing for several years, they were called “dirty Jew,” “dumb Jew,” and other anti-Semitic slurs by managers and coworkers.

The physical harassment included an incident in which Scott Jacobson’s work vehicle was defaced with a swastika and an incident in which he was forced into a trash dumpster for the amusement of managers, who observed the entire incident on a work surveillance camera. 

“The harassment here was cruel and callous,” said Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The use of the swastika is an especially egregious and provocative act, and the anti-Semitic epithets and physical violence alleged here are also outrageous. The EEOC will act, and act forcefully, to rectify this kind of workplace abuse.”

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