Thursday, 11 March 2010

California Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Threats of Violence

A complaint filed in the United District Court for the Eastern District of California cites a hostile work environment, rife with undesirable practices of the kind that employment lawyers in California see so often - gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and other forms of workplace harassment.

Three persons have filed a complaint against the Lassen Municipal Utility District alleging gender discrimination, violation of civil rights, sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment, threats of violence in the workplace, retaliation, and wrongful discharge under California labor codes. Two of these are veteran employees of the district, while the third is a former employee.

In her complaint, Connie Devlyne says that she was subject to a hostile workplace discrimination based on her gender. According to Devlyne, over the years, she suffered from the “offensive“ conduct of her coworkers, and had brought these problems to the attention of the management. In spite of repeated such attempts, management failed to take action to prevent the harassment or discrimination. According to Devlyne, even when she complained, co-workers engaged in retaliatory behavior like paying pranks, or chose to shun her.

The second complaint has been filed by Paul Glau, who alleges that he was made to work in a hostile environment because of his support of Devlyne. This retaliation took several forms, including making Glau perform dangerous work tasks. During one such task, Glau was forced to perform an activity that ended in an explosion and exposure to dangerous substances. According to him, the explosion was the result of sabotage by coworkers who were angered by his support of Devlyne.

Glau retired from his position as a facilities manager at the Lassen Municipal Utility District in December last year. According to the complaint, the district retaliated for his support of Devlyne by making up charges of misconduct against him, and proposing that he be terminated from his position. He was given an ultimatum that if he did not retire before the year 2009 ended, he would be fired.

The third complainant, Krsto Knezevich also names retaliation for his support of Devlyne’s sexual harassment complaint as well as his own conduct in complaining about hazardous substances, for retaliatory treatment by coworkers. .

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