Archive for the ‘Retaliation’ Category

Long time no blog, now that summer vacation is over its time to getting back to updating my readers on whats the latest and greatest in employment law issues. A fitness companies recent settlement with the EEOC, shows that sexual harassment of employees is bad and even worse is when you retaliate against them rather than attempt to remedy their complaints of discrimination and harassment.

Allstar Fitness, Seattle, has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The agency claimed that a Latina janitorial worker who worked at two Allstar Fitness clubs in Seattle was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her immediate supervisor. The EEOC also said that the supervisor forced her to have sex with him on a regular basis and warned her to keep quiet about it.

When the worker told the supervisor not to harass her anymore, he fired her the next day, according to the EEOC investigation. After she reported the supervisor to the company’s upper management, the EEOC and the worker claim that Allstar Fitness failed to investigate the matter and expressed disbelief in her allegations.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in July 2010 on behalf of the 38-year-old worker, a mother of three.

EEOC District Director Michael Baldonado said the settlement will ensure that Allstar Fitness implements employee training, written workplace policies and a complaint procedure “to help prevent this from happening again.”

“No one should be forced to choose between personal dignity and the paycheck that feeds your family,” Baldonado said.

If you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace report it to your Human Resources Department or the EEOC. If the situation does not get fixed or if you suffer retaliation as a result, speak with a lawyer that handles employment law matters. Feel free to consult with the Behren Law Firm and Scott Behren on these types of issues.

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A recent jury verdict against Xerox for almost $800,000 shows the repercussions an employer, such as Xerox, may suffer for retaliating against an employee who complains of discrimination in the workplace. Remember that most state and federal laws prohibit not only the discrimination itself, but also retaliation against any complaints of discrimination.

Hope Bailey-Rhodeman, an African-American female, claimed she had suffered retaliation when she had made an internal complaint of race and gender discrimination. Since she filed the claim, she was demoted to a sales position, but at the time of her complaint, she was a sales manager for Xerox and had a successful career spanning nearly 20 years. She had been promoted to sales manager, leading a team of 10 sales representatives who specialized in selling equipment and services to customer in state and local government.

Bailey-Rhodeman was consistently the highest ranked sales manager in her section, and was frequently one of the most highly ranked sales managers for the country. But all this changed in the summer of 2006, when Bailey-Rhodeman made an internal complaint to Xerox Human Resources, complaining that other managers were bullying her because she was an African-American female.

Her immediate supervisor learned of the complaint, and told Bailey-Rhodeman that he was angry at her for making him look bad, telling her “now you did it.” He then launched a retaliatory investigation of Bailey-Rhodeman. Without being interviewed, or even being told the specifics of the accusations against her, Bailey-Rhodeman was suspended, being accused of committing an unspecified “policy violation.” Three weeks later she was told she was being fired, but Xerox offered to pay her 12 weeks severance, if she would agree to quit. She refused, and threatened to sue the company.

In response, Bailey-Rhodeman was told that she was being removed from her sales manager job, but could accept instead a reassignment to a sales position where she would be stripped of all supervisory responsibilities. Otherwise, she would be fired. The reassignment was a demotion, which would result in a significant loss in pay. Nonetheless, without any job prospects, Bailey-Rhodeman took the reassignment, but continued to challenge the demotion.

After being demoted to the sales position, Bailey-Rhodeman lost approximately $100,000 per year in sales commissions. Her territory was split between two white males. At trial, Bailey-Rhodeman challenged her demotion as being in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination. The jury found in Bailey-Rhodeman’s favor on her retaliation claim, and awarded Bailey-Rhodeman $488,088 in lost past income, and $316,126 in lost future income.

Should you believe you have been the subject of discrimination in the workplace or retaliation, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss available legal options to you.

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An Orlando woman has teamed up with high-powered attorney Gloria Allred to sue her former employer for gender discrimination and retaliation, after she said she was sexually harassed by managers who commented on her breasts.

Amy-Erin Blakely filed the lawsuit in an Orange County, Florida court on Wednesday and said the harassment at The Devereux Foundation went on for about five years. Blakely managed 900 employees at the nonprofit behavioral health organization that also provides foster and adoptive assistance. Blakely says she worked for the organization in Orlando until she was fired last year after she accused managers of sexual harassment.

“It was very humiliating to know that senior members of our management team would focus on my breasts as opposed to my performance on the job,” said Blakely at a Los Angeles press conference Wednesday.

“She also alleges that someone in management talked about how large her breasts were and that she needed to ‘hide them,’” Allred told the station.

Blakely said she always dressed professionally, was an exemplary worker and had never before been reprimanded. In fact, she said she was promoted and given raises eight times in 13 years. The 43-year-old had risen to the position of Assistant Executive Director, but claims she couldn’t advance any further because her managers said she was “too sensual.”

As many readers of my blog are well aware, sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by Florida and Federal law. In addition, if you complain to your employer about sexual harassment in your workplace and are retaliated against or fired, that is simillarly a violation of Federal and Florida law.

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation in the workplace, feel free to contact the Behren Law Firm or another attorney experienced in employment law matters.

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