Archive for the ‘Sexual Harassment’ Category

Is having a second job at Hooters in order to pay your bills and support your children enough to terminate your employment? Is there a claim for gender or familial status discrimination where a single mother holds this type of job to support her kids? Thess issues are starting to be addressed in the Ft. Myers area in the case of Nicole Zivich.

A high school cheerleader coach in southwest Florida says she was fired because a parent complained about her part-time job at a Hooters restaurant. The 24-year-old Nicole Zivich was fired from Estero High School Nov. 21. Zivich told the Lee County School Board this week that a parent of one of the cheerleaders had sent a flurry of emails complaining about her second job at the popular chicken wing restaurant where waitresses wear tight-fitting uniforms.

Citing a privacy policy regarding personnel issues, the school district has not given a reason for her termination. But school superintendent Joseph Burke said it had nothing to do with her employment at Hooters. She was working under contract as the school’s varsity cheerleading coach.

This matter has created lots of noise for the local school board who has been asked to reconsider its decision. Will keep you posted on how things turn out.

If you believe you have been the subject of sexual harassment or gender discrimination, feel free to contact Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Sexual harassment in the workplace must be quickly addressed by employees and employers in all cases. However, it is even more important to address where minor employees are involved. In at least one case, the managers of a Dairy Queen did not address the harassment quick enough.

The guardian of a 17-year-old minor has filed a lawsuit against Dairy Queen, claiming the fast food restaurant allowed the teen to be sexually harassed by a co-worker.

Kathryn McCauley, as guardian and next friend of a minor, filed suit against Food Service Holdings Ltd., doing business as Dairy Queen, on Oct. 17 in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.

The 17 year old was employed by Dairy Queen in Huntington in June 2010, where she was subjected to discrimination on the basis of her sex, including sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting such harassment, the suit claims.

According to court records, the minor was subjected to a hostile work environment by a co-employee and was told the co-worker would be fired after his 30-day probationary period.

However, McCauley claims that when the probationary period was over, the co-worker was not fired. Instead, the minor was not properly placed on the schedule and given very few hours. The teenager was terminated on Oct. 3, 2010, allegedly for failing to show up to work.

The teen maintains that she was informed that she was not scheduled to work on the date in question and she was really terminated for reporting the sexual harassment.

If you believe you or one of your children has been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace, speak to an attorney experienced with sexual harassment suits such as Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm.

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Well this recent case gives me one more reason to dislike Virginia Tech aside from their last minute win over the Miami Hurricanes this past weekend.

As you know, we have blogged on many occasions about employee rights under the various state and Federal sexual harassment statutes which make it illegal for an employer to harass or discriminate against an employee based upon sexual harassment.

Well, a former Virginia Tech employee has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit in which she claimed her supervisor treated a five-day training session with her “as if the trip was an extended date.”

Getra Hanes, who worked as a fundraiser for the university, will receive $60,000 as part of a settlement reached last week in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.

In her sexual harassment lawsuit, Hanes accused Robert Bailey Jr., her direct supervisor, of repeatedly making sexually inappropriate comments during a five-day training trip to Maryland in 2007.

The lawsuit also said that Bailey held Hanes to different professional standards than he did his male employees, and that he fired her when she complained about the harassment.

On the way to the training session, the lawsuit said, Bailey told Hanes how uncomfortable he was travelling with a young attractive women, then proceeded to ask at length if she was married and whether she was dating.

He later tried to invite himself to her room to discuss the development office’s Moves Management program, emphasizing the first word “so as to focus on the double-entendre meaning of the title,” the suit said.

When Hanes refused, Bailey insisted that she come to his room, where he made her feel uncomfortable by wearing pajama pants, drinking a beer and leaning over her as she sat at a computer, the lawsuit said.

If you believe you have been the subject of sexual harassment in the workplace or by one of your supervisors, make sure and report the matter to Human Resources or to the EEOC. If you are fired or retaliated against based upon your complaints, speak to an employment law attorney on the issue. Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm handle sexual harassment cases and are available for a free consultation.

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Under Federal law and most state laws, sexual harassment is not permitted in the workplace and should not be tolerated.

University of Texas Longhorns football coach Mack Brown’s longtime associate athletics director for football operations was dismissed from the university last March because a university investigation determined he made repeated unwanted sexual advances toward a female administrative assistant over a two-year period

Cleve Bryant, who oversaw numerous daily activities for the Longhorns, including game-day-operations, team travel and recruiting weekends, was fired after a university investigator determined “that Mr. Bryant did sexually harass” the staffer and that “the harassment was likely both verbal and physical.”

The sexual harassment complaint was filed by Rachel Arena, a then 24-year-old football department employee who had graduated from Texas in 2008.

The investigation show that Arena told investigators:

• That during a July 2010 meeting in Bryant’s office about whether she would receive a raise, Bryant pulled down the top of her dress and bra and fondled her breast.

• That Bryant repeatedly either told her in person or texted her that “I want to kiss you.”

• That Bryant retaliated after she told him to stop texting by creating a false allegation that she had acted inappropriately at a minor league baseball game she attended with some former Texas football players.

• That one day while in the break room, getting a bottle of water, Bryant came in, stood in front of the door as she started to leave and said, “Kiss me.” Arena said she turned away and Bryant kissed her on the neck before she could leave.

• That two other female office workers alleged that Bryant had inappropriately kissed them in the past.

• That another woman in the athletic department referred to Bryant as “old-freak-nasty” and that he once told Arena “he wanted to touch me, that he wanted to pleasure me, that he could, that he could make me happy, referring to sexually, things like that.”

Bryant, who is married, denied all of the allegations.

If you have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace, feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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This blog frequently blogs about sexual harassment in the workplace and the remedies available to employee where they experience sexual harassment.

Well, the television show, “The Price Is Right” has now been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. A former model on “The Price Is Right” game show filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment by producers who continually humiliated and berated her, according to court papers.

Lanisha Cole names the producers of the popular game show, Michael G. Richards and Adam Sandler as well as their production company, Fremantle Media North America.

Cole began working on “The Price Is Right” in 2003 but beginning in December 2009, the situation began to deteriorate when Richards suddenly and inexplicably stopped speaking to Cole and began showing favoritism to another model with whom he was having a relationship, the suit alleges.
According to the court papers, Richards used policies “which never before existed” to limit her modeling work on the show and engaged in abusive behavior.

While called into a meeting about alleged sexual harassment involving another model, Cole complained about her own treatment.

Months later, Cole informed management she had to miss a day of work because of a family commitment and was told she would not be able to work for that week, the lawsuit says.

When she returned, she was told she was “holding the show hostage” because of her complaint.

We will continue to keep you posted on any developments in this new lawsuit. In the meantime, if you have problems with sexual harassment in the workplace, go to Human Resources or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) to make a Complaint. If that does not work or the problems become worse, speak to an employment lawyer that handles sexual harassment matters. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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Dustin Hoffman in the Graduate was told just one word, “Plastics.” However, plastics did not appear to be a good business decision for several employees of plastic company Promens USA.

Promens USA Inc. has agreed to pay $225,000 to four women to settle a sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC has announced.

The women worked at the former Bonar Plastics rotational molding plant in West Chicago, Ill., that was acquired by Promens hf, based in Kópavogur, Iceland, in 2005.

EEOC said the violations occurred during the five years that Promens owned the factory.

The women, who were employed in the finishing department in West Chicago, filed discrimination charges with EEOC in 2007, which sued Promens on their behalf last fall.

The women alleged that a Promens supervisor “repeatedly propositioned temporary female workers,” EEOC said in a news release announcing the settlement. When the women rejected the supervisor’s advances, he fired them.

“This pattern of quid pro quo harassment continued until Promens USA fired this supervisor in July 2010 after yet another woman complained of sexual harassment,” EEOC said.

When EEOC investigated, the agency also found that Promens USA excluded women from jobs in the rotomolding department, which paid more than the finishing department.

The EEOC stated that “Employers should take notice that women cannot be excluded from a class of jobs based on stereotypes about their physical strength of assumed lack of interest. The EEOC uncovered evidence that Promens systematically excluded women from higher-paid positions as machine operators,” Hendrickson said. “Federal law plainly forbids work force segregation on the basis of sex.”

If you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, speak to your human resources department. If your concerns are not addressed, go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or an attorney that handles employment law cases.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or believe you have suffered discrimination in the workplace, call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a consultation.

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In Florida and most other states, where an employee quits his/her job, they are typically not entitled to recover unemployment benefits. The exception to this rule is where an employee quits based upon good cause attributable to the employer.

Believe it or not, in a case in Miami, a female employee quit her employment based upon the sexual harassment of her employer, and sought unemployment thereafter. Florida unemployment refused her unemployment benefits questioning whether or not she was sexually harassed because she did not go to the police or seek counseling. The employee claimed that she tolerated the actions of her employer for a while because she needed her job, but could not tolerate it any longer and quit.

The Third District Court of Appeal in Miami, thankfully, ruled that this employee was entitled to her unemployment benefits. The Court ruled, “Additionally, sexual harassment can continue for several years before the victim makes public her complaint . . . . Considering a job is usually a person’s economic lifeline, the claimant’s failure to contact outside authorities regarding her complaint cannot be called unreasonable or inherently improbable.”

The case is 940 Lincoln Road Enterprises v. Margarita Hernandez.

If you are refused unemployment benefits by your employer or the unemployment office, seek the advice of an employment lawyer. There are many deadlines to be observed to protect your legal rights so don’t let them slip by. Feel free to call Scott Behren and the Behren Law Firm with questions on your unemployment benefits.

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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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College View Donuts, LLP paid $290,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the EEOC charged that a manager of a Wynantskill Dunkin’ Donuts store sexually harassed female employees.

The EEOC said at the time the suit was filed in November 2009 there may have been as many as 15 victims, some of whom were 16 or 17 years old. The manager was fired after the harassment allegations surfaced, but the EEOC said store management allowed the manager to continue harassing employees for a year after two employees first complained.

The manager engaged in unwanted touching and hugging, as well as making lewd sexual comments, the EEOC said.
College View Donuts will pay $290,000 to the former employees and has agreed to a six-year consent decree that calls for appointing an equal employment opportunity coordinator and for all employees and managers to undergo sexual harassment prevention training. The settlement was announced Tuesday.

If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment by a supervisor, you probably want to take it to your Human Resources Department in order to address and/or investigate it. If you continue the experience problems, speak with an experienced employment law attorney. You can call Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm for a free consultation.

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For those of you who have seen the movie “Waiting”, when I read this post, visions of “The Bat” kept coming to my mind. Anyone who has seen the movie will recall what I am talking about and those who have not, check the movie out it is a very funny look at behind the scenes in the restaurant industry.

That being said, this week the EEOC advised Flemings Prime something that is probably good business sense, don’t flick your co-workers genitals. Whether these co-workers be male or female.

The EEOC announced that Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., will pay nearly a quarter million dollars and furnish other relief to settle a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
Read the rest of this entry »

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