November 30, 2015
On Sept. 8, 2015, a jury awarded a restaurant worker in Los Angeles $1,661,800 for unjust termination and sexual and racial harassment after they found he was wrongfully fired from his job.
A local diner hired the plaintiff as a shift leader in June 2012. A few months later, he transferred to another location where the problems started. During his tenure there, he worked under a woman who harassed him because he was African American. Another female shift leader sexually harassed women in his presence, which bothered him.
The plaintiff complained that Hispanic employees were treated better than the African American employees. In addition, the first shift leader called the plaintiff stereotypical and racial names and made numerous derogatory statements about his race in general. The second shift leader made sexual advances to other female employees and made moaning noises while on the job.
The plaintiff addressed the unfair treatment, but the second shift leader mocked him and continued her sexually explicit action. He continued to plead his case before the first shift leader, but she did not intervene.
Finally, he went to the CEO and human resource manager. They took no action, and the plaintiff was terminated a short time later. When listing a reason for his termination, the first shift leader told him he complained too much and could not get along with the second shift leader.
After he was terminated, he claimed that he suffered serious emotional distress due to the harassment. He was subsequently diagnosed with recurring schizophrenia, severe depressive disorder and a generalized anxiety disorder. Although he had previously battled schizophrenia, it was under control prior to his employment at the restaurant. The continued sexual and racial harassment exacerbated his schizophrenia to the degree where symptoms returned, and he eventually lost his residence and was homeless.
The defendant argued that the sexual harassment was not directed at the plaintiff and that the other employees did not complain of mistreatment. The restaurant further noted that he had received raises and thus denied the racial discrimination charges as well. Instead, they claimed that he was terminated for his failure to properly perform his job.
A job discrimination lawsuit is often necessary to correct unjust behavior from past or present employers. Workers sometimes suffer retaliation at work due to complaints about discriminatory treatment under state or federal labor laws. If you have been the victim of illegal treatment by your employer, contact our attorney for assistance.