Category: Sexual Harassment

Female Comedians Will Face Sexual Harassment at Work Everyday

Jen Grant, a comedian from Toronto, started a set at a corporate event, ready to get some laughs. Grant has been a comedian for 16 years. That day, rather than leaving the stage with a smile on her face, she left the stage in tears. She had never cried after a set before in her entire career.

While doing her set, a man in the audience spoke, in what Grant described as a “rapey” voice, “There’s a 51 percent chance that my buddy here will have sex with you, and I will take the other 49%.” Grant took to her blog after the show, titling her post, “I was sexually harassed at work.”

Since the days Grant posted in her blog, there have been both supporters and critics. The comedy industry is not void of sexism; many male comedians actually embrace it for material. The most difficult realization to swallow, however, is that any workplace can be rampant with sexual harassment.

According to a study done last year, the most sexually harassing job is being a server in the food industry. Not only is a server susceptible to harassment from patrons, but he or she can get heckled and harassed by owners, managers, etc. 37% of sexual harassment claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were from restaurant servers.

The technology industry also sees continuous sexual harassment complaints; many that go unheard. In an industry that is primarily male driven, female victims of sexual harassment feel unable to speak in case it makes them look weak or the tables are turned against them.

If you feel you have experienced sexual harassment on the job, please contact one of our Aegis attorneys today.

Source: sheknows.com: EEOC

Forever 21 Sued by Transgender Employee

Alexia Daskalakis began working for a Forever 21 store in New York in 2011 as a sales associate…and a man. Three year’s into Alexia’s tenure, she began her physical transition from male to female, and thus the harassment and discrimination began.

Though she had identified as female previously, in January 2014, Alexia began presenting herself in a more traditionally feminine way—wearing makeup, dressing more womanly. At this point in time, Alexia has also been promoted to the role of visual merchandiser and was responsible for setting up window displays.

Alexia had begun taking hormone pills for her physical transition in August 2014. Supervisors and co-workers, male and female alike, immediately began harassing Alexia, subjugating her gender identity. One manager called her a “hot mess” and told her that she looked “offensive,” asserting “in my eyes and the in the company’s eyes, you’re still a male.”

Alexia was sent home from a shift one day for not abiding by male dress code and following the female dress code. The manager who sent her home that day, also told her, “you used to be a hard worker when you were a guy, but not anymore.” Alexia was fired the following January.

The lawsuit alleges that the company discriminated against Alexia based on gender identity, a protected class is becoming more and more indoctrinated into various anti-discrimination laws and labor codes.  Filed last month, this lawsuit comes in the wake of a different lawsuit against Saks Fifth Avenue for similar claims. The Saks suit settled only a few weeks before Alexia’s was filed

Source: Fortune Magazine

sexual harassment

Pennsylvania Attorney General Ignored Sexual Harassment Complaints

Kathleen G. Kane, Attorney General to the state of Pennsylvania, is being accused of ignoring sexual harassment complaints from within her own department. Ms. Kane allegedly ignored several recommendation to fire her Chief of Staff, Jonathan Duecker, whom she had recently appointed to the position.

The Office of Professional Responsibility submitted a report to Ms. Kane, describing accusations against Mr. Duecker for two cases of sexual harassment. One case occurred at a non-work related event. Mr. Duecker allegedly harassed a female prosecutor who worked in the same office, while a group of office co-workers went out to a bar. He allegedly slid his hands under the co-worker’s shirt and attempted to put his hands under her skirt.

The second incident that was reported occurred at a house used by the Attorney General’s office for investigation. Mr. Duecker purportedly made unwelcome advances on the female agent. She went to a bedroom to sleep a few hours; couple of hours later, the Chief of Staff entered the room but when questioned why he was there, he responded that he was going to leave.

As of now, the Attorney General said there are no plans to take action against Duecker or plans to change his status.

Source: USAttorneys

Multi-Million Dollar Payout for Unnamed Teen

A 17 year old teenager and her guardians received a high paying victory for an employment case that was not only sexual harassment but also dubbed “sexual molestation.” The plaintiff, identified only as S.W. due to her age, sued employer U.S. Metro Group through her guardian.

Plaintiff, who was 15 at the time of the incidents, began working for U.S. Metro Group to help pay for an expensive cheerleader uniform. An employee of the company, Luis Morales, knew the plaintiff needed money because she was friends with Morales’ daughter. Morales was the one who offered plaintiff the job at the cleaning company. Plaintiff accepted the offer and began working with Morales at his night job cleaning buildings.

It was at that point plaintiff alleges Morales took advantage of her, “exploiting her sexually.” Morales has been criminally prosecuted for these charges as well. The company responded to plaintiff’s position by stating that plaintiff was never a formal employee of the company. Company policy forbids minors and non-employees from being brought to job sites, and U.S. Metro Group had no knowledge of Morales bringing the plaintiff to his job. In fact both plaintiff and Morales kept the situation a secret from the company.

Plaintiff sued in January 2013 for the following claims: sexual assault and battery; sexual harassment; failure to prevent harassment; negligence; negligent hiring and training; and infliction of emotional distress.

A jury on March 20, 2015 decided in the plaintiff’s favor, finding Morales 40 percent negligent and the company 60 percent. Plaintiff was awarded $150,000 for economic damages and $2.5 million for non-economic damages adding up to $2.65 million in an overall award.

Source: Daily Journal

Sexual Harassment Isn’t Uniquely American

Svetlana Lokhova is a British banker whose job matched something you would expect in a movie or television show. She kept insane hours, made a sizable income (approximately $1.1 million a year), and had to endure a misogynistic, harassing environment.

Lokhova worked for the Russian bank, Sberbank CIB in London. From the outset, she had to endure constant degrading comments and bullying. She was often called “Crazy Miss Cockhead” and “Miss Bonkers” and accused of being a drug addict. Since she was constantly being called these names, the company began to suspect that she actually was on drugs and was forced to undergo a drug test. She tested negative and passed.

On top of the drug addiction taunts, the men of the department had no shame in commenting on her body. On several occasions, she was told that the only reason she got hired was “because of her t—s.” the sexual harassment got so severe, that despite the healthy salary, Lokhova had to leave her position and take a leave of absence. She suffered a mental breakdown.

Lokhova’s claims eventually found its way to the Central London Employment Tribunal who reviewed the case. They ruled in her favor, awarding her the equivalent of approximately $4.7 million. Her award was broken down into lost earnings, damages for hurt feelings, and aggravated damages. The bank was further chastised for not taking proper disciplinary action against the men who were involved. In fact, the ring leader of bunch was given $250,000 to leave the company.

As a result of her traumatic experiences, the Tribunal found that Lokhova may never be able to work in finance again as she is still “suffering from a moderately severe psychiatric illness.”