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Articles Posted in Employment Discrimination

Just a few weeks after 20-year-old Cassie Smith filed suit against Hooters of America, claiming the restaurant placed her on weight probation, a second waitress has come forward and filed a similar claim, saying she was fired in 2009 for failing to loose sufficient weight.

Hooters officials claim they have a right to be concerned about their employees’ image because they are considered entertainers, not waitresses.

Both lawsuits, however, cite the Michigan Civil Rights Act, which bars employers from discrimination on the basis of religion, marital status, race, age, height and weight. Steve Neavling, Detroit Free Press 06/02/2010
Read Article: Detroit Free Press

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A Dallas jury awarded Dr. Nassar $3.6 million in a lawsuit he filed against University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center over racial and religious persecution.

According to the lawsuit, Nassar’s boss, Dr. Levine, told Nassar that she thought people from the Middle East were lazy and questioned his direct supervisor about his productivity.

Due to the harsh environment created by Levine, Nassar was driven to quite he job, he claims.

Read Article: Dallas Morning News

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Five years after alerting authorities that she was gang-raped in Iraq, KBR/Halliburton employee Jamie Leigh Jones will finally get her day in court.

After fighting tooth-and-nail in the lower courts to keep the case from going to trial, KBR announced that it was dropping its Supreme Court appeal in the case.

This was less than two weeks after it was awarded a new $2.3 billion logistics contract by the Army. Jones, who says she was raped by coworkers and then imprisoned in a shipping container for three days by KBR staffers, had been barred from pursuing her sexual harassment case in the courts by a provision in her employee contract: The fine print said all such issues must be resolved via the company’s own binding arbitration process.

Read the full story here.

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Since the start of the recession, a growing number of sexual harassment complaints have come from men. Some 16.4% of all sexual harassment claims—or 2,094 claims—were filed by men in fiscal 2009, up from 15.4%, or 1,869 claims, in fiscal 2006, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

While male victims sometimes experience behavior like groping and unwanted sexual advances, employment lawyers say increasingly “locker room” type behavior like vulgar talk and horseplay with sexual connotations have been the subject of claims.

Read full story here at the Wall Street Journal

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A member of the science team for NASA’s 2008 Phoenix Mars Lander mission has sued one of the mission’s co-investigators, Samuel Kounaves, alleging sexual harassment.

Research assistant Suzanne Young was part of a Tufts University group that helped build the experiments to analyze and characterize the chemical composition of the Martian soil during the NASA mission, led by the University of Arizona and housed in Tucson.

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A former associate plans to file a $50 million lawsuit against Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, accusing the firm of denying her a promotion to partner because she is a lesbian and of doing nothing to stop higher-ups from harassing her, according to the complaint.

The former associate, Julie Kamps, plans to file the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan. Kamps, who previously filed a less detailed complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claims that a female partner at Fried Frank sexually harassed her. She also alleges that the firm instructs lawyers to write exaggerated negative performance reviews about associates the firm wants out.

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Atherton has agreed to payt $230,000 to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit a former police officer filed against the town and one of its employees.

In the April documents filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, former Atherton police Officer Pilar Ortiz-Buckley accused Public Works Supervisor Troy Henderson of making salacious remarks and grabbing her in the police break room.

City Attorney Wynne Furth said that the town decided to settle early in the process to avoid costly legal fees. The three involved parties signed a settlement agreement in mid-November.

Ortiz-Buckley, 48, suffered back injuries during the alleged June 2008 attack, which prevented her from wearing her police duty belt and made it impossible for her to do her job, according to the lawsuit.

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A Miami-Dade jury, sworn to exercise its civic duty, awarded security guard Jackalyn Strachan $150,000 in damages — for exercising her same civic duty.

The six-person jury found that Miami security firm Hall Investigation Service wrongfully denied wages and fired Strachan for serving as a juror in a murder trial in April 2007.

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A radiation oncologist who formerly worked for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute won a $3 million verdict in federal court on charges that her employer retaliated against her for raising concerns about discrimination.

The jury recommended that Dr. Kristina Gerszten be awarded $1.5 million in back pay from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, which works with the UPMC Cancer Centers, as well as $827,292 in front pay. But according to Dr. Gerszten’s attorney, those amounts are only advisory.

It will be up to U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab to determine what amount the defendant will have to pay.

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The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the $6.1 million jury award to strip-search victim Louise Ogborn, saying McDonald’s legal department was “fully aware” of hoax calls to its restaurants, yet its management made “a conscious decision not to train or warn employees or managers about the calls.”
In a unanimous decision, the court also said that the $5 million awarded to Ogborn in punitive damages for McDonald’s “reprehensible” behavior was justified because the evidence showed the company repeatedly “placed a higher value on corporate reputation than on the safety of its own employees” over the 10 years it knew about the hoax calls.

A three-judge panel also upheld the judgment for former assistant manager Summers, who claimed she was duped into executing the search because of the company’s failure to warn her about the hoaxes. But the court cut her $1 million punitive damage award to $400,000, saying the jury’s verdict was excessive. Summers was also awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages.

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