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Workplace Harassment Cases in California: Real Examples

Do you think you are a victim of workplace harassment? If so, your employer may be violating both California and federal law. Harassment based upon a protected category in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination and is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. In addition to these laws, anti-harassment laws of California are among the most favorable towards employees in the entire nation. But what constitutes harassment in the workplace, and when should you contact a workplace harassment attorney for help?

The following workplace harassment cases from the EEOC newsroom will help you learn more about California workplace harassment laws, plus reveal the various types of workplace harassment that are negatively impacting the California workplace.

Do you think you are a victim of workplace harassment? If so, your employer may be violating both California and federal law. Harassment based upon a protected category in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination and is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. In addition to these laws, anti-harassment laws of California are among the most favorable towards employees in the entire nation. But what constitutes harassment in the workplace, and when should you contact a workplace harassment attorney for help?

The following workplace harassment cases from the EEOC newsroom will help you learn more about California workplace harassment laws, plus reveal the various types of workplace harassment that are negatively impacting the California workplace.

Harassment in the California Workplace: Real Case Examples

Braun Electric to Pay $82,500 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

Fresno, CA - Braun Electric Company, based in Bakersfield, California, will pay $82,500 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC.

According to the lawsuit, since 2010, a male manager located in Belridge continually subjected his female coworkers to harassment and a hostile work environment. Some of the manager's unlawful behaviors included grotesque sexual remarks and explicit sexual propositions. Braun's management failed to adequately address the workplace harassment, and Braun's supervisors failed to report incidents of harassment. One female employee was also forced to quit due to the hostile work environment.

Melissa Barrios, director for the EEOC's Fresno's Local Office, stated, "As agents of the employer, supervisors and managers should act as role models and promote an environment free of harassment. Employers should make sure that supervisory staff is trained not only on the laws against workplace harassment, but also on how to effectively prevent and address such issues."

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EEOC Sues Guardsmark For Co-Worker Harassment

San Jose, CA - Security firm, Guardsmark, violated federal law when it failed to stop co-worker harassment of a guard concerning his national origin and age, according to an EEOC lawsuit. Guardsmark is also alleged to have retaliated against the employee with an involuntary transfer.

Inderpal Nayyar, who worked as a security guard for Guardsmark, faced constant workplace harassment regarding his East Indian national origin and his age (he was 66 at the time). Examples of the workplace harassment include a co-worker who repeatedly ridiculed Nayyar's turban and accent. The same co-worker also told Nayyar "you're too old" and "you need to retire." Nayyar's supervisors ignored his complaints, taking no action to address the hostile working conditions. Nayyar was then involuntarily transferred, leading to a reduction of his hours and a loss of employee benefits. Nayyarthen had to resign from Guardsmark.

Nayyar, a naturalized U.S. citizen of East Indian descent, stated, "When I told my managers about the harassment, nothing happened, and then, worse yet, I suffered retaliation for speaking out. All I wanted was to be able to do my job in peace. I am thankful that the EEOC has taken my case."

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EEOC Sues Peters' Bakery for National Origin Harassment and Retaliation

San Jose, CA - An East San Jose family-owned business, Peters' Bakery, violated federal law when the principal owner harassed a Latina employee by verbally abusing her with offensive ethnic and racial slurs. Peters' Bakery then retaliated against the employee by suing after she filed a lawsuit with the EEOC.

The EEOC alleged that Charles "Chuck" Peters harassed and discriminated against sales clerk Marcela Ramirez due to her national origin by making generalizations about Mexicans and using racial epithets. Peters then tried to force the employee to accept a layoff and then wrongfully terminated her when she refused.

"It is vital that EEOC sends the message that neither national origin harassment nor retaliation will be tolerated," stated EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo.

EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado said, "The law is very clear. All employees have the right to work in an environment free from hostility, intimidation and ridicule. The EEOC upholds the laws that ensure that no one should have to endure racial or ethnic abuse at the workplace, and that no one should be fired for reporting it."

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Regal Entertainment Group to Pay $175,000 for Sex Harassment of Man by Female Co-Worker

Los Angeles, CA - National movie theater chain, Regal Entertainment Group, paid $175,000 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the suit, Regal Entertainment Group subjected a male employee to sexual harassment by a female co-worker. The company then retaliated against him for complaining about the workplace harassment - along with two supervisors who tried to help.

The male employee who worked for the Marina del Rey, California theater location was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment by a female co-worker who repeatedly grabbed his crotch, according to the EEOC. Both the male victim and his direct supervisor complained to the general manager who failed to stop the harassment. The manager then retaliated against the harassed employee and two other supervisory employees (male and female), who are part of the EEOC's suit. All three employees suffered from unfair disciplinary action, unfair lower performance evaluations, and stricter performance scrutiny.

Regional Attorney Anna Park of the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office stated, "Employers need to reinforce the proper responses to complaints of sexual harassment and take a hard line against retaliation. In this case, the sexual harassment claim was absolutely valid, but even in cases where discrimination allegation lacks merit, the EEOC will still hold companies liable for any subsequent retaliation against the person who complained or other individuals who supported the claim."

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Sutter Transfer Service Sued for Race Harassment

San Francisco, CA - The EEOC sued Yuba City-based Sutter Transfer Service for race harassment when the trucking company violated federal law by allowing a supervisor to harass truck drivers with racial slurs.

The EEOC alleged that driver Lonnie Winstead was targeted by his dispatcher with racially-charged comments like "gorilla," "wetback," "porch monkey" and more. Winstead alleges that he also heard other racial slurs directed at various ethnic groups, including "raghead," and "sand n--r." In addition to that, other employees witnessed workplace harassment and even complained to management. However, Sutter failed to take action against the supervisor, so race harassment continued.

"Growing up in the South, I knew racism, but working in California, I didn't expect to be treated that way," said Winstead. "I just wanted to do my job, but I had to listen to these racist comments almost every day from the person who gave us our work dispatch. As the only black truck driver at Sutter, I was mortified to hear these stereotypes. It hurt."

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The Redwoods in Yosemite Sued by EEOC for Unlawful Treatment of Hispanic Employees

Fresno, CA - The owner of The Redwoods in Yosemite vacation homes in Yosemite, California violated federal law when a class of Latino employees were subjected to workplace harassment due to their national origin. The class was also retaliated against for complaining about the hostile working conditions.

The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that the operations manager subjected Latino employees to a higher standard of work performance, unannounced schedule changes, denial of benefits, constant verbal abuse, failure to promote and more. The EEOC also said that the Latino employees complained about national origin harassment in the workplace, but the company failed to assist them.

EEOC Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park stated, "National origin discrimination and retaliation should not be tolerated by any employer, anywhere. The Commission will vigorously enforce the laws to eliminate workplace discrimination."

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UPS Sued by EEOC for National Origin and Religious Harassment

San Francisco, CA - Global shipping company UPS violated federal law when it allowed supervisors and coworkers to harass and discriminate against an employee for being Arab and Muslim. The EEOC's lawsuit alleged that UPS unlawfully retaliated against the employee after he reported workplace harassment to his union, the company and the EEOC.

Talal Alfaour, who is Jordanian and Muslim, began working at the San Bruno Hub of UPS in South San Francisco in 1995 as a loader and revenue worker. In 2004, Alfaour started facing workplace harassment - both verbal and physical. Alfaour was nicknamed "Dr. Bomb," "Al Quada," and "Taliban." The victim's supervisor also told him that he will never be able to work with hazardous materials because, "you are a terrorist and you are going to blow up the building." Alfaour was physically harassed with rocks, bottles and tools, plus a dead mouse was placed in his lunch bag.UPS failed to take action even though Alfaour repeatedly reported the harassment to his employer.

"Mr. Alfaour faced egregious and intolerable harassment but continues to work at UPS in hopes that the situation would be remedied," said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. "The EEOC has filed suit to defend his right to a work environment free from hostility, intimidation and ridicule."

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All employees deserve to work in safe, supportive environments and workplace harassment should be dealt with accordingly. If you are being subjected to workplace harassment in California, contact our expert workplace harassment attorneys today for your free consultation.

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