Category: Employment Law

Thirty-Three Women Sue Ford for Sexual Harassment

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A sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Ford Motor Company has come to include 33 women who claim to have been victimized while working at two Chicago – area plants. Employees at Ford’s Assembly Plant and Stamping Plant allege that they were subject to a hostile work environment that included instances of attempted rape, unwanted sexual advances, touching, groping, and men exposing or showing pictures of their genitals.

The federal suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, states that, “Ford is aware of the ongoing discrimination and harassment which occurs on a daily basis in an open manner, such that it is observed by employees and supervisors, and has turned a blind eye toward it.”

The plaintiffs claim that complaints to Ford management were met with more harassment, discrimination, and retaliation – alleging that women who dared to speak up were written up or threatened with termination. “Ford knowingly allowed sexual harassers, molesters, and sex offenders to remain in the workplace and repeat heinous acts of sexual harassment”, they say. The suit includes a description of a “pattern and practice of discrimination” that included male employees receiving days off and overtime pay they had not earned, while women were never granted such privileges.

Ford’s attorney Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has asked the court to dismiss the case on a wide range of grounds. In a motion to dismiss, the motor company’s legal team wrote, “Ford cannot be held vicariously liable for acts outside the scope of managers’ and supervisors’ employment; the claims are preempted by the Illinois Workers Compensation Act; and the intentional infliction of emotional distress claims are preempted by the Illinois Human Rights Act.”

Ford Motors is no stranger to sexual harassment lawsuits. In 2000, they settled a similar suit filed by 14 female employees for $19.5 million. If the Chicago plaintiffs can successfully establish their claims for discrimination and retaliation, it is likely that Ford will be required to pay a far greater sum.

For more information, call Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.

Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers: Wall Street CEO To Pay $18 Million

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A federal jury has awarded $18 million to former Swedish model Hannah Bouveng in a sexual harassment and defamation suit filed against her boss, Benjamin Wey. As the CEO of New York Global Group, a private equity investment firm with an estimated $1 billion in capital, Wey allegedly pressured Bouveng into having sex, fired her after she tried to end the relationship, and then posted defamatory articles about her on his blog TheBlot after being informed of the lawsuit.

The story began in the summer of 2013, when Mr. Wey hired Bouveng as an assistant in New York City after meeting her at a party in the Hamptons. According to his wife, Michaela, Wey rented his new assistant a luxury apartment in the Financial District, explaining that “Ms. Bouveng could be closer to the office, focus on work and bring him more deals”, which would be good for business.

According the $850 million lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court, Mr. Wey began pushing his new assistant to have sex with him, buying her gifts and bringing her on business trips where he would book only a single room. After several awkward encounters where he successfully pressured her into having sex with him, Bouveng attempted to break off the relationship at Wey’s Behest.

In a statement to the jury, Bouveng’s attorney David Ratner stated, “She was debased. She was degraded. She was defiled. He was delighted… He thought he owned her.”

When Bouveng began refusing her boss’s advances, he threatened to fire her. In her testimony, Bouveng stated, ““He said if I didn’t spend more time with him, he would have to start looking for someone else. He said if I didn’t show him tangible love, he was kicking me out by Aug. 1.”Later on, after discovering her with another man, Bouveng claims that Wey fired her, kicked her out of the apartment and threatened to revoke her visa.

Bouveng proceeded to file suit against Wey in July of 2014, but was only met with more harassment. That month, Wey retaliated by posting several defamatory articles on his blog about Bouveng that included her name, picture, description and accusations of her of being a drug addict, sex slave and prostitute. The suit also states that Wey traveled to Stockholm to harass Bouveng and hire private detectives to stalk her months after she was fired from NYG Group.

In June, an eight-person jury awarded Bouveng $2 million in compensatory damages and $16 million in punitive damages for sexual harassment, retaliation and defamation claims.

For more information on sexual harassment or any other employment law matter, contact Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.

Philadelphia Wrongful Termination Lawyers:  Robertson v. Hunter Panels LLC, Civ. A. No. 2:13-cv-01047 (W.D. Pa 2013)

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In April 2012, plaintiff Sandra Robertson, was terminated from her employment at Hunter Panels LLC, of Smithfield. Robinson claimed that she was fired in retaliation for complaining about harassment and a hostile work environment and for accusing the company of running an “old boys’ club,” after the plant manager repeatedly refused to act on her complaints.  When she first complained, the company sent her to a mandatory anger-management program, although the counselor told her she did not need it. A few months later, Robertson again complained about ongoing harassment, and she was fired for her “management style.”

Robertson sued Hunter Panels and its parent, Carlisle Construction Materials Inc., as joint employers, on claims of gender discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and violations under Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Robertson claimed that the company created electronic documents to support her termination only after she complained about harassment.

The jury found that Hunter and Carlisle discriminated against Robertson because of her gender, that they subjected her to a hostile work environment because of her gender, and that they unlawfully retaliated against her when they terminated her employment. Robertson was determined to receive $92,000. The jury further determined that Hunter and Carlisle acted with malice and/or reckless indifference to the federally and state protected rights of Robertson, who was determined to receive $12.5 million in punitive damages.

Philadelphia Wrongful Termination Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Obtain Compensation for Victims of Retaliation in the Workplace

Philadelphia wrongful termination lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green fight for the rights of employees who unjustly lose their jobs as a result of retaliation at work, hostile work environment or workplace discrimination. Our Philadelphia retaliation lawyers have the experience to hold negligent employers accountable for their actions. Call our Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania law offices today at 215-574-0600 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.

Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers: Verdict Against FedEx For Sexual Harassment

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A federal jury awarded $3.2 million in a sexual harassment suit against Federal Express Corp. — including $2.5 million in punitive damages despite a $300,000 federal cap on damages. Pennsylvania case law bars awards of punitive damages under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Plaintiff, Marion Shaub, was a former FedEx tractor-trailer driver, who claimed she was harassed by her supervisor and co-workers and that the brakes on her truck were sabotaged on five occasions in an attempt to intimidate her.

The jury found in favor of Shaub on her sexual harassment and retaliation claims and concluded that FedEx was liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Shaub was awarded $101,400 in back pay; $290,000 in front pay; $350,000 in compensatory damages for emotional suffering; and $2.5 million in punitive damages, for a total award of $3,241,400.

Although Pennsylvania case law bars awards of punitive damages under the PHRA, they are allowed under Title VII — but cannot exceed the cap. FedEx is likely appeal, to argue that the punitive damages must be reduced by $950,000. EEOC regional attorney Jacqueline McNair said the verdict “sends employers a loud and clear message that sex discrimination and retaliation are simply unacceptable.”

For more information on gender discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace, call Philadelphia gender discrimination lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.  

Philadelphia Overtime Lawyers: Fracking Water Transportation Falls Under FLSA Overtime Rules

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Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a given workweek at a rate of atleast one and a half times their regular rates of pay.

This month, U.S. District Judge Malachy E. Mannion of the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled in Mazzarella v. Fast Rig Support that truck drivers delivering fracking water to gas drilling rigs within the state are covered by the FLSA and must receive overtime pay in accordance with FLSA guidelines.

After working more than 45 hours a week without receiving overtime pay, the employees of FAST Rig Support, LLC and First Americans Shipping and Trucking Co. filed an FLSA and Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act claim earlier this year. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the claims, arguing that the Motor Carrier Act, which provides exemptions from FLSA regulations, governs work performed by the plaintiffs.

In his ruling, Judge Mannion stated that the plaintiffs effectively pleaded a claim for violations of the overtime provisions of the FLSA and that “defendants have not shown that the motor carrier exemption applies sufficiently to justify dismissal”. Peter Winebrake, counsel for the more than 40 plaintiffs, believes this ruling represents a significant development that will have a broader impact on labor standards in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia employment lawyers for FLSA at Sidkoff, Pincus and Green P.C.  represent clients in all matters of employment law including wage and hour disputes, FLSA violations, overtime claims and more.  Our Philadelphia business lawyers are highly skilled in trial litigation and complex negotiationsContact Sidkoff, Pincus and Green online or call today at 215-574-0600.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers: Woman Fired Following Struggle with Alcholism

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Delaware resident, Mary McGee has filed suit against her former employer Exelon Generation Co. alleging unlawful discrimination and retaliation in response to her struggle with alcoholism in 2014.

According to the complaint, McGee was instructed not to return to work for 24 hours after being hospitalized in November after fainting at work while under the influence of alcohol. The day after, McGee was administered a drug alcohol test, which she failed with a BAC of .01. After completing an outpatient treatment program and producing clean test results, McGee was not given a return-to-work date and she subsequently relapsed. McGee then voluntarily admitted herself into a rehabilitation center and was cleared to return to work in early May of 2014.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvannia, states that McGee was then terminated on July 16 for “violating the company’s code of ethics”. She alleges that Exelon did not provide accommodation for her disability and was therefore wrongfully terminated. McGee is now seeking injunctive action against Exelon along with punitive damages, compensatory back and front pay with benefits, attorney fees and court costs.

Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. are experienced in handing all aspects of employment law, including wrongful termination. Call us today at 215-574-0600 to schedule a consultation or submit an online contact form.