April 17, 2014

Can I Be Fired For Reporting Sexual Harassment?

So you are working hard and going about your business. The boss is engaging in sexual harassment of another employee and you witness it almost daily. You don't know if you should get involved or not. What happens if you report the sexual harassment? Can anything bad happen to you for reporting this to human resources? Well the answer is, nothing is suppose to happen to you. Under the law, if you report sexual harassment and any negative job actions occurs as a result, it is called retaliation and it is illegal. Even though nothing bad is suppose to happen, often times that isn't the case.

Many times, the boss will treat the reporting employee in a negative fashion and may even fire that person. That is why it is very important for you to contact an employment attorney if you feel you are being victimized at work. Many times the company will only look after its' best interests not yours. Sexual harassment occurs at work often and sometimes it is hard to get involved with trying to stop it. Just know that you have rights if you do decide to get involved.

April 16, 2014

Riviera Consulting & Management Consulting, LLC Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $100,000

Riviera Consulting & Management Consulting, LLC pays $100,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts a former employee was fired because of his vision impairment. Farhang Dahmubed was hired and then quickly fired as a senior bookkeeper at Riviera Consulting & Management Consulting, LLC within one month because of his retinitis pigments. The company did not try to provide a reasonable accommodation for his newly created job duties related to driving.

The lawsuit was filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). Under the Act, an employer must make a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability. In this case the employer could have found a way to allow all parties to be happy. It is too bad that employers let good workers go because they are narrow minded in their thinking.

"This settlement is a great result, because bringing on an independent EEO consultant increases the likelihood that positive changes will made to ensure that employees do not suffer disability discrimination and that employees can clearly request accommodations under the law." said EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo
April 14, 2014

Sexual Harassment By A Professor

So you are attending college in Chicago and your professor seems to be taking an unusual interest in you. He begins to ask personal questions and singles you out from the other students. He now asks for your cell-phone number under the guise of needing to contact you on something school related. However, he begins to send you text messages at night and they are of a personal nature. It is obvious to you that he wants a sexual relationship with you. What if anything can you do? Well, under the law in Illinois, you could file a claim of school sexual harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").

It has been my experience that most colleges and universities do a bad job of supervising their professors. And most professors that engage in the sexual harassment of students are repeat offenders. Most haven't been caught before, but usually, once a complaint is filed, other students come forward. it is very important for you to save any text messages and to documents anything you think will be helpful. Remember, you paid good money to attend school, not to be victimized by a professor.

April 12, 2014

Sexual Harassment Case At The Illinois Human Rights Commission

So you filed your sexual harassment case and it is now before an administrative law Judge at the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC"). What can you expect to happen now that the case is moving forward? Well the IHRC has its' own set of rules governing how the case will proceed. Many lawyers are not familiar with the rules of the IHRC and that can be a huge disadvantage for them. Some of the discovery rules are the same at other venues and some of the rules aren't. For example, at the IHRC you are not allowed to take any depositions without leave of the Court. And unless you can show a compelling reason for taking the deposition, you won't be allowed to. It isn't enough to just complain that you want to take a deposition. It is my experience, that you should file multiple sets of interrogatories and requests for documents and only then if more information is needed, can you ask for a deposition

Another issue that comes up at the IHRC is the number of interrogatories, requests to admits and requests for production of documents. In circuit court, you are limited by the Illinois Supreme Court rules. However, at the IHRC there is no limit on the number of requests you can make. It does make sense to not file frivolous requests and if you do the Judge may limit the number. The reason you can ask unlimited numbers of requests is because you can't take depositions, so you need to get more information than you normally would from the written requests. If you are going to have a case at the IHRC, you should make sure you have an aggressive employment lawyer, who knows the rules and can guide your case from start to finish.

April 10, 2014

Sexual Harassment Investigations

So you are working hard and minding your own business but the boss keeps engaging in sexual harassment. He won't leave you alone. You are tired on putting up with it and finally you report the conduct to human resources. What can you expect to happen next? Well, much of it will depend on the company. Some companies do a good job and take the allegations seriously. Others, could care less and will try to sweep the whole thing under the rug. So you have to be ready for both types of companies.

If you decide to file a complaint you must make sure you have as much evidence as possible. Evidence could be text messages, emails, or co-workers who are willing to come forward. You also have to make sure you talk with an employment lawyer and protect your rights to file a complaint with one of the government agencies. The most important thing to do is stand up to the harasser and fight for your rights.

April 9, 2014

Ventura Corporation Settles Discrimination Lawsuit For $354,250

Ventura Corporation settles a gender discrimination lawsuit for $354,250. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after initial settlement talks failed. According to published accounts the company engaged in a pattern or practice of refusing to hire men as Zone Managers and Support Managers. This is an unusual gender discrimination case as it involved discrimination against men. In this case Ventura promoted Erick Zayas into a Zone Manager position after he complained about its discriminatory practices, only to set him up for failure and termination in retaliation for his opposition to Ventura's sex-based hiring practices.

Once the company was involved in litigation, it did some things that were not proper. The company was responsible for the loss or destruction of a great deal of critical evidence supporting the case. The disappeared evidence included job applications from qualified male applicants for the positions at issue and e-mails from key decision makers. This is referred to as the spoliation of evidence. Usually, an attorney will send out a preservation of evidence letter once the case starts. In this case the EEOC asked the court to award sanctions against the company based on the apparent destruction of evidence. This helped settle the case.

"This case is another reminder that federal law protects both men and women from gender discrimination." said EEOC Attorney Robert E. Weisberg
April 8, 2014

Weight Watchers Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit For $45,000

The WW Group., Inc., doing business as Weight Watchers, pays $45,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of a pregnant job applicant. According to published accounts, the Weight Watchers' Farmington Hills location violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant as a group leader because she was pregnant. To make matters worse, the applicant was a lifetime member of Weight Watchers who had successfully met and maintained her weight goals before becoming pregnant. Wow that is some really messed up stuff. What planet were these management people on?

When Weight Watchers learned of the applicant's pregnancy, it told her that it did not hire pregnant women and refused to consider her any further. This is a clear violation of the law and as you can see it cost the company some money. Not only did they have to pay, but also the company was subjected to some very negative publicity.

"Under the PDA, pregnant applicants have the right to fair and equal consideration for employment." said EEOC attorney Omar Weaver
April 5, 2014

Davis Typewriter Company Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $11,000

Davis Typewriter Company pays $11,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The money was paid to compensate a female employee for emotional-distress. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of the female employee. According to published accounts a company operations manager used the company's security camera system to stream footage of a former employee's breasts and body onto his office computer. Talk about a creepy individual. You have to wonder what kind of training went on in this office.

When the employee learned of her manager's surreptitious surveillance and notified another manager and Davis Typewriter's owner, the company failed to take sufficient steps to correct such behavior or prevent it from occurring again in the future. As a result the female quit her job which is called a constructive discharge.

"Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be a prevalent workplace problem." said EEOC attorney John Hendrickson
March 30, 2014

Osceola Community Hospital Pays $75,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Osceola Community Hospital pays $75,000 to settle an Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after initial discussions to settle fell through. The problem started when the day care center operated by the hospital, failed to hire a volunteer employee into a paid position for which she was qualified because of her cerebral palsy. So basically, the woman was qualified and but for her disability, she would have received the job.

According to published accounts the woman already volunteered in the day care center and held a job driving a school bus. The problem was the company refused to hire her into a paying job out of an unfounded fear that her disability meant that she could not safely care for the children. Of course she was already caring for the children, just not getting paid for it. If you treat people different in this day and age, bad things will happen to you. In this case the company had to pay a great deal of money and received all of this bad publicity.

"This seems to have been a case of baseless fears and stereotypes getting in the way of a highly qualified person obtaining employment, which should not happen. The EEOC was happy to obtain justice for this individual." Said EEOC attorney Richard Mrizek
March 29, 2014

Sexual Harassment In Universities In Chicago

So my Chicago office gets many calls from students who are subjected to sexual harassment while at school. The most troubling thing about the calls, is that the person doing the harassment is usually a professor. If you are the victim of school sexual harassment in college and the professor is the one doing the harassment, there is strict liability on the college. What this means is that you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). Of course it is best to contact an employment lawyer so that you can have your complaint drafted properly. Also, it is a good idea to discuss what evidence you have.

Many times, the person doing the harassment will deny they are engaging in that activity. It usually takes some proof to make the person admit to their wrongdoing. You are paying a great deal of money to attend college, don't become a victim. It is also important to come forward so that others don't have to go through what you did. And the colleges usually will settle valid claims of sexual harassment because they don't want the negative publicity. This puts you in a strong negotiating position. The most important thing to do is act quickly as there are strict time limits for filing your complaint.

March 28, 2014

Can I File A Sexual Harassment Complaint If The Service Technician Asks Me For Sex?

So I took my car into the automotive shop to get some work done on it. The service manager took an immediate liking to me and asked me out. I refused and told him to just fix the car. Now the service manager is making sexual comments and asks me for sex. What rights do I have? Well, in Illinois you can file a complaint of sexual harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") based on this conduct. Under the law, you have a right to be free from any type of discriminatory conduct while in a business. If this is violated it is called sexual harassment in public accommodation.

My office files cases based on this type of activity. Most attorneys only concentrate on employment law discrimination. However, this type of behavior occurs more often than most people realize. It is very important that you document what is taking place and get as much evidence as possible. The best evidence is something in writing, like a text message or email. Remember, in Illinois it is illegal to record someone without their permission. Protect yourself and take action as soon as possible.

March 27, 2014

My Boss Is Forcing Me To Hav Sex With Him, What Should I Do?

So your boss has been hounding you to go out on a date. Now the boss has taken you out, gotten you drunk and the two of you had sex. You really didn't want to have sex but you felt like your job was on the line if you didn't. What is this called in Illinois and what protections if any do you have? This would be a clear case of sexual harassment under the Illinois Human Rights Act. You have the legal right to be free from any type of sexual conduct from a supervisor while at work. The fact that you felt pressured to have sex to keep your job assures that is was sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as an unwanted sexual advance--which this would be.

So you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") claiming sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment. There is going to be strict liability on the company because the supervisor is the one doing the harassment. You can also file a complaint with the IDHR against the supervisor individually. But what you should do first is contact an aggressive and experienced employment lawyer who concentrates on these types of cases.