Category: Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is in the Eye of the Beholder

Most people know it is not okay to sexually harass people at work.  What many people don’t realize is that sexual harassment is a lot more than just trying to coerce someone into sleeping with their boss, inappropriately touching a coworker, or making sexually explicit comments about a coworker.

The kind of kidding around you do with a buddy can be harassment when said at work.  Have you ever called a coworker a “pussy”?  What if a female coworker overheard you?  She might be bothered by you comparing someone to a female body part in an insulting way.   Maybe you have heard a coworker talk about how someone got “raped” when they did a bad job?  How do you think a coworker who had been sexually assaulted would feel about hearing someone say that?  It can be as simple as you and a girlfriend being mad at a coworker and saying “what a slut!” when she walked by.  The fact that a group is all women or all men does not make sex-related language okay at work.  Even if something does not bother you, it may offend or hurt a coworker.  Remember, it is not what you think is alright that matters, but what the people around you feel.  Be respectful to your coworkers and keep it clean in the workplace.

HoneyBaked Ham Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

The Original HoneyBaked Ham Company has agreed to pay $370,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, female HoneyBaked Ham employees were subjected to sexual harassment and were fired and otherwise retaliated against when they complained. The lawsuit alleged that when a female employee reported her harassment complaint up the chain of command, she was terminated.

HoneyBaked Ham has agreed to pay $370,000 and agreed to ensure that all of its employees are trained on sexual harassment and the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII. HoneyBaked Ham will also furnish the EEOC with reports on gender discrimination, including sexual harassment complaints.

Retaliation complaints have been on the rise. Over the last two years retaliation claims have been the most prevalent types of charges filed by the EEOC. In 2012, approximately 38% of the charges filed with the EEOC were retaliation charges.

EEOC Denver Field Office Director Nancy Sienko added, “We are pleased that HoneyBaked Ham will take the needed steps under this agreement to improve awareness of sexual harassment and to establish procedures that protect employees who complain.”

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/6-26-13.cfm

Beware of Bobs

Bob is a great name.  Its simplicity engenders a certain kind of reaction in us all.  We trust Bobs. We like to hang out with Bobs, maaaaybe even play a friendly game of parcheezy avec Bob. Bobs probably inspired the lyrics “just the good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm …”  A Bob is someone you wouldn’t mind having over at a family gathering; someone you could always count on to serve you eggs and pancakes the American way (see also Big Boy/Bob’s).  Simply put, in Bob we trust … or trust-ed …

Lately, there have been some serious problems in Bobland.  Bob Filner, mayor of “America’s greatest city,” has some explaining to do.  Filner’s former communication director filed a lawsuit this month alleging the mayor “has disgraced himself and the office he holds by engaging in numerous instances of sexual harassment.”  In court documents, she described finding herself alone in an elevator with the mayor in March when he pulled her toward him, put an unwanted arm around her and said, “I am so in love with you. Wouldn’t it be great if you took off your panties and worked without them?”‘ When she pushed him away, she alleged, he kissed her on the cheek.  In April at a meeting open to the public in City Hall, she alleged, Filner put her in a headlock and dragged her toward a table with doughnuts, telling her he loved her and asking, “When are we going to get married? Wouldn’t it be great if we consummated the marriage?”  How far the mighty Bobs have fallen.

If you work with a “bad” Bob, you should contact a lawyer immediately to protect your rights.

Employee’s Appeal Reversed on Sexual Harassment Claim

In Westerndorf v. West Coast Contractors of Nevada, Inc. the Ninth Circuit recently reversed the lower Court’s summary adjudication of a Plaintiff’s claim for retaliation on the basis of sex despite the fact that it affirmed summary adjudication on the sexual harassment itself.

Plaintiff Jennifer Westendorf filed suit against her former employer West Coast Contractor for, among other things, sexual harassment and retaliation stemming from said harassment.  She alleged that during the course of her employment, she endured a number of “offensive sexual comments”. Continue reading “Employee’s Appeal Reversed on Sexual Harassment Claim”

The Price is Wrong

A California judge says a case against “The Price Is Right” should go to trial. A former model for the game, Lanisha Cole, show is suing the show’s producers and production company for sexual harassment and wrongful constructive discharge. The trial judge has denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss and has scheduled a trial to begin May 21, 2013.

The plaintiff began appearing on the game show in 2003. She claims the alleged harassment started in December of 2009. At that time, she says one of the show’s producers stopped talking to her and began bestowing preferential treatment on another model with whom he was involved in a romantic relationship. Continue reading “The Price is Wrong”