Silicon Valley Firm CMEA Sued for Sexual Harassment, Retaliation
March 19, 2013
Last year, in Howard Law's Riverside, California employment lawyers blog, attorney Vincent Howard reported on a high profile Silicon Valley gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit, filed by former junior partner, Ellen Pao against the well-known California venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. In her lawsuit, Pao accused the firm of creating a working environment that was dominated by males and filled with discrimination based on sex, sexual harassment and gender retaliation. The lawsuit raised questions about the current state of gender issues in the venture capital and tech industries.
Silicon Valley was recently thrust into the spotlight again, after another sexual harassment lawsuit was filed recently, bringing more attention to the ongoing issue of gender roles in the technology world. Last month, CMEA Capital, a venture capital firm, was sued by former female executive assistants, who accused John Haag, the former president and chief operating partner, of sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment, and retaliation.
According to the lawsuit, Haag engaged in sexual misconduct by behaving in sexually inappropriate ways. The lawsuit against CMEA lists numerous incidents of sexually explicit behavior as well as inappropriate sexual and racial comments toward the three former employees, along with other female employees in the firm. The lawsuit also accuses CMEA's management of failure to respond to and stop Haag's sexual harassment, and alleges that Haag retaliated against the female employees after learning of the complaints.
The former female employees reportedly claim in the suit that the sexual inappropriate behavior at the firm was ongoing, with a total disregard for employment laws. The lawsuit claims that Haag engaged in harassment that was sexual in nature, with bullying and intimidation tactics and was aware of his inappropriate behavior.
The sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit also claims that despite notifying the management at CMEA of Haag's behavior, the firm did not take the necessary steps to stop the behavior. Instead, the lawsuit claims that after making the complaint, Haag and the firm retaliated against the women by cutting back their overtime payment and increasing their workload.
According to Vincent Howard, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 it is against the law to discriminate against or harass an employee based on gender. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that sexual harassment can include unwelcome requests for sexual favors, sexual advances, and other sexual harassment of a physical or verbal nature. It is also against the law for employers to retaliate against any employees who exercise their workplace rights by standing up to sexual harassment or discrimination.
In La Palma, Los Alamitos, and Mission Viejo, contact Vincent Howard and our labor and employment legal team at Howard Law, PC today. Call for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.
CMEA Capital Sued For Sexual Harassment, Forbes, March 8, 2013
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