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Wayfair Ex-Associate Director of Industrial Engineering Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Emily Forsythe formerly worked as Associate Director of Industrial Engineering for Wayfair, an online furniture retailer that is based in the city of Boston. On January 3rd, the 33-year-old filed a lawsuit stating that over a period of several months, she was sexually harassed by a male colleague she was overseeing. The colleague, according to the lawsuit, continually attempted to pursue a relationship with Forsythe, and also had unwanted physical contact with her multiple times. After Forsythe rejected her colleague’s advances, he started to become aggressive in messages to her and other Wayfair employees.

In the lawsuit, Forsythe mentions a specific situation in which the colleague made sexual advances toward her when they were visiting their Perris, California facility. The male colleague allegedly stared at Forsythe’s breasts and then proceeded to run his hand down her blouse down toward her waist. Forsythe rejected the movements and moved away from him to prevent further physical contact. Later on in the same day, the male colleague started to discuss online dating applications, and he talked about potentially dating Forsythe even though he knew he had conflicts with her due to her lack of interest in a sexual relationship. In July of 2019, the male colleague falsely told other people that he was dating Forsythe.

Forsythe’s lawsuit also claims that another Wayfair employee discriminated against Forsythe in retaliation for her complaining about the alleged harassment. The employee excluded her from emails and meetings. Forsythe complained to Wayfair, but Wayfair deemed the complaints unfounded because the employees that were involved in her complaints denied the allegations. On September 22, Forsythe mentioned her plan to file a discrimination complaint, and Wayfair wrongfully terminated her in retaliation. Forsythe is seeking court fees, damages, and back pay.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed, wrongfully terminated or retaliated against and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Chipotle Settles Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit with Former Employee

Chipotle has settled a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after Austin Melton, a former Chipotle store manager reported that he was sexually harassed and retaliated against by his supervisor. Melton was 22 years old at the time, and his female supervisor was the perpetrator.

The EEOC stated in the lawsuit that Melton was continuously harassed in a sexual manner by his supervisor. The supervisor asked if Melton and his girlfriend at the time would participate in sexual activities with her, she would slap, grope, and grab his genitals, and she even posted a “scoreboard” in the office to keep track of the sexual activities of the staff. Melton eventually reported the inappropriate behavior to upper management, but they did not address the issue with his supervisor in an adequate manner. Melton was retaliated against by being locked in a walk-in freezer at the restaurant by his supervisor. It was clear to Melton that his report of sexual harassment was not addressed appropriately, so he quit his job.

Chipotle has settled the lawsuit with a three-year consent decree, and the company is providing Melton with lost wages and compensatory damages amounting to $95,000. The settlement requires Chipotle to develop new policies and supplement old ones with additional information, and they also will now have to give anti-discrimination training to all employees. Notices of the consent decree will be posted for all staff members to read and understand, and all employee claims of sexual harassment and retaliation will be reported directly to the EEOC from this point forward.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed or retaliated against and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Reverend of United Methodist Church Reaches Settlement in Sexual Harassment Case

Reverend Bud Heckman of the United Methodist Church has agreed to settle a sexual harassment case rather than face a church trial. He was accused of sexually harassing four women, including his former wife, an ex-girlfriend, and two other young women who he met at interfaith conferences. Even though Heckman did accept guilt on some church charges, he has denied certain allegations that were made by the four women.

K.R., the initials chosen by Heckman’s ex-girlfriend who wished to appear anonymous due to her fear of him, stated in the case that Heckman stalked her after she tried to end the relationship with him. K.R. reported the behavior to the police, which left Heckman with a charge of stalking and harassment. In New York in 2012, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Laura Heckman, Heckman’s wife at the time, was divorcing him when his guilty plea occurred. Allegedly, Bud Heckman said he would rather kill their children than pay child support. Heckman’s wife tried to reach out to the church for help, but the bishop and the church did not respond to her calls.

A junior in college, Megan Anderson, met Heckman in 2015 at an event called the Parliament of the World’s Religions that she was sent to by her job. After introducing herself to Heckman, he took her on an outing where he touched her in a manner that made her feel uncomfortable, asked her to go to his hotel room, and then allegedly tried to put his hand in her pants. At the same conference, Heckman went into a different woman’s hotel room whom he had met at a previous conference. Allegedly, he showed up to her room in his underwear. According to the case, Heckman then proceeded sexually harass her by sending sexually explicit text messages over a period of a few years.

Heckman, who would have been the first well known #MeToo case in a church trial with the United Methodist Church, settled the case instead of facing the trial. He admitted guilt and agreed to retire from his position as a Reverend. Women within the United Methodist Church have started coming forward with their harassment stories as well.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed and would like to know your rights in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

San Diego Settles Racial Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Former Officer Jeffrey Stewart filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego, California in 2018 after he was wrongfully terminated from his position. The lawsuit also was filed after he found out that some of his supervisors had recommended he be terminated in 2017. Stewart, who worked in his department for 19 years, stated that his department created a hostile environment when it came to race.

Stewart used his voice to speak up about racial discrimination after a fellow African American police officer had been discriminated against, which led to Stewart being stripped of his “police powers” following the situation. Stewart alleges in the lawsuit that he was harassed, retaliated against, and discriminated against for his race. He also believes he was discriminated against for notifying his employers of a work-related disability, and for speaking both internally and publicly about the mistreatment of himself and others in the department.

The City of San Diego settled the lawsuit with Stewart with five checks that totaled $50,000 for the wrongful termination case. The San Diego Police Department has allegedly implemented changes in order to help decrease the amount of discrimination both for officers in the department, and the people officers interact with on a daily basis in the city.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or discriminated against and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Ex-Employee for the City of Abilene Wins $2M Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Chad Carter, a former engineer for the city of Abilene, Texas, sued the city for wrongful termination after he reported project violations that he witnessed to city officials as well as the Texas board. Carter stated in his lawsuit that the Texas Engineering Practice Act “required cities to have a licensed engineer perform certain public works projects,” which Abilene did not follow. Abilene did not bring in a licensed engineer when they were required to do so by law. Regular city workers were used to oversee the projects that a licensed engineer would normally supervise. The city also did not ask for any opinions on the plans or specifications from engineers.

Disregarding the law can lead to a significant amount of safety concerns for the public, according to Carter. As a responsible engineer, he reported the violations internally, and then later on notified the Texas board. Within 90 days after notifying the board, however, Carter was wrongfully terminated. Allegedly, Carter was terminated as retaliation for notifying city officials and the Texas board of the violations that had occurred.

Carter’s case was taken to court, and after a great deal of back and forth between him and the city, Carter won the lawsuit and was awarded “$88,543 in lost earnings, $36,000 in lost employee benefits, and $2 million in compensatory damages,” by the jury. The city officials who were in management positions when Carter reported the violations have been terminated from their positions with the city of Abilene.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Former FBI Agent Sues Justice Department for Wrongful Termination

A former FBI agent, Peter Strzok, well-known for launching the 2016 Russia probe, is claiming that the Justice Department and the FBI collectively violated his privacy and free speech rights. Strzok, two years after the Russia probe, was fired from his position after he wrote heavily anti-Trump messages through text while the probe was still going on. He believes he was wrongfully terminated.

Strzok’s anti-Trump personal text messages were sent on a government-issued cell phone and were received by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Strzok’s lawsuit claims his privacy and free speech were violated by having the text messages released. The Justice Department has argued that due to Strzok’s high ranking, the FBI has “imposed on him a higher burden of caution with respect to his speech.” However, Strzok’s legal representatives have stated that the FBI’s claims, if they were true, would leave thousands of federal government employees without protections from their political speech being punished.

Strzok mentions in his lawsuit that the administration only protects free speech when the agents speak in favor of President Trump. The lawsuit claims FBI agents who used their government-issued phones to send celebratory texts about Trump’s election did not receive any discipline like Strzok did, despite using the devices for personal texts. Strzok feels as though he was wrongfully terminated for using his government-issued device for personal texts while other agents have been allowed to do so in the past.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Cadillac Jack Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against Cumulus Media

William Choate, formerly known as Cadillac Jack to Kicks 101.5 morning show listeners, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the radio station’s parent company Cumulus Media. Choate claims in the lawsuit that his boss harassed and bullied him on a regular basis because of his sexual orientation. Choate was let go from Kicks with 22 months left in his contract, and he believes he was let go as an excuse to get rid of him and his large salary.

Choate started working for Kicks, now known as New Country 101.5, when he was 19 years old. The company went through multiple owners over Choate’s first 22 years with them, and he stated in the lawsuit that the work environment was, “…genial, supportive, and professional.” The work environment allegedly changed when Cumulus Media hired Sean Shannon in 2015 as the vice president and market manager.

According to Choate’s lawsuit, Choate received a significant amount of derogatory comments from Shannon in regards to his sexual orientation. Chaote identifies as bisexual, but prefers to keep it to himself, close friends, and family members. Allegedly, Shannon stated that he tried to get Choate fired, but was overruled by other employees. Choate felt too intimidated to report the incidents to Shannon’s bosses.

The event that allegedly led to Choate getting terminated involved him drinking at a Luke Combs concert, where he was trying to get into the VIP area. It is noted in the lawsuit, that Choate attended the event personally, and that he was not working the event for Kicks. According to Choate, even after he was not allowed to enter the VIP area, he still acted in a polite and respectful manner. The events of the concert were quickly misinterpreted by other employees and sent to Shannon, who allegedly suspended Choate and then terminated him for his “unprofessional conduct” at the concert despite the fact that he was not working the event.

Choate sought unemployment benefits and was granted them because the Department of Labor felt as though there was not enough evidence showing that Choate was fired for cause. Choate attempted to handle the matter privately, but Cumulus Media denied his demands and did not want to negotiate.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Terminated Employee Files Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against Walmart

A Walmart employee since 1993, Teresa Miles has alleged that she was wrongfully terminated by the company because of her disability. Miles has epilepsy, which she told Walmart about with multiple doctor’s notes stating that she has seizures in high stress environments. For most of Miles’ time at Walmart, she worked as an overnight stocker.

According to Miles’ lawsuit, she unloaded a truck in 2011, and finished her task early. She was asked to stock shelves in the pharmacy department even though she had already worked in the electronics department earlier that day. Due to the high stress of working in multiple departments in one day, Miles had a seizure that put her in the hospital for three days.

Walmart allegedly ceased accommodating her disability in 2016 by requiring that she work in different departments that were very stressful for her. In 2018, Miles was told to work as a greeter during her shift, and the managers claimed, “…she was overly aggressive with a customer over a receipt.” This led Walmart to allegedly tell Miles she could only keep her job if she worked as a cashier.

Despite being given notes from Miles’ doctor saying that she is unable to work in high stress environments due to her epilepsy, Walmart allegedly started discriminating against Miles for her disability. Miles’ lawsuit states that she was terminated by Walmart even though she had informed them of her disability when she first started working for them. She is seeking damages for back pay and interest, damages for emotional distress and anxiety, and she is also hoping to get her job back.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, or you have been discriminated against because of your disability and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Former Deputy Sues Wake County Sheriff for Wrongful Termination and Retaliation

Former deputy of Wake County, North Carolina, Richard Johnson, has filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Gerald Baker. Johnson’s lawsuit claims he was retaliated against and wrongfully terminated by Baker. Johnson was chief of operations at the sheriff’s office at the time of his termination. He originally worked for the office starting in 1976 and then retired in 2000. His former Sheriff Donnie Harrison asked him to return to work in 2003.

Johnson mentions in his lawsuit that prior to Sheriff Gerald Baker taking office, there was a lieutenant in the office, Teddy Patrick, who made inappropriate comments during a training seminar. These comments included racially inappropriate and homophobic statements. Two deputies at the training session informed Johnson they felt uncomfortable about the comments that were made.

An internal investigation took place regarding the incident with Patrick and the training session, leading Johnson and former Sheriff Harrison to demote Patrick. The demotion resulted in “a pay cut and loss of supervisory authority.” However, after the demotion, Patrick went on trips to the Caribbean with Baker since the two were close friends. This led to some problems for Johnson once the 2018 election for Sheriff came up.

Baker defeated Harrison in the election, promoted Patrick to captain and then to major, which essentially made him the Sheriff’s second-in-command. Baker then refused to have Johnson swear in as deputy under him, which then led to Johnson’s wrongful termination.

Johnson’s lawsuit states that he believes his wrongful termination was in retaliation of demoting Baker’s friend. Johnson is seeking damages, back pay with interest, damages for emotional pain, and lost benefits.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated or retaliated against and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.

Employee Fired by Harris Ranch Beef Company After Taking Leave for Cancer Treatment

Yolanda Alcala, a former meat trimmer for the Harris Ranch Beef Company, is suing the company for wrongfully terminating her after a 20-year-career with them. Alcala was well-known for her attendance record and her hardworking attitude, which both showed she was reliable with her work. In May of 2017, Alcala was diagnosed with breast cancer, which led to her taking medical leave starting on July 27th, 2017 to undergo surgery.

A month after her surgery, Alcala attempted to return to work, but found it challenging to finish her shift due to the effects of her chemotherapy treatments. Alcala contacted Human Resources to let them know she did not have the ability to complete her full shift. The HR employee allegedly told Alcala that she would be terminated if she was not able to work for the next three months.

Even after speaking with the HR employee, Alcala gave Harris Ranch a doctor’s note requesting that she be put on additional medical leave from August 29th, 2017 to May 1st, 2018. During this period, Harris Ranch called her into their offices and allegedly terminated her employment on January 19, 2018 because she had “exhausted all her available leave.” Since the termination, Alcala has had a difficult time trying to find a new job.

Alcala has filed a lawsuit against Harris Ranch, alleging that they wrongfully terminated her for taking medical leave. In the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees are given 12 weeks of leave, and in the Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers are given the legal responsibility to provide accommodations to their employees. This can include extending leave depending on the employee’s situation.

If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated and would like to know your rights as an employee in the state of California, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer.