EEOC Gets Injunction Against Firing of Bakery Employee Who Complained of Harassment

Here’s a cautionary tale if you are thinking about firing an employee who has filed employment discrimination charges against you.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on July 27 that it had obtained a court order prohibiting Peters’ Bakery, a family-owned business in East San Jose, from terminating a sales clerk whose allegations of ethnic and racial harassment and retaliation are the basis for a federal lawsuit.

It’s quite a tangled situation. According to the EEOC, owner Charles “Chuck” Peters harassed sales clerk Marcela Ramirez with repeated derogatory jokes and comments, such as “Mexicans would rather lie than tell the truth,” and “I never trusted your kind of people,” and ultimately discharged her because of her national origin.

The lawsuit further alleged that after Ramirez filed charges with the EEOC, her employer retaliated by filing a defamation lawsuit against her (dismissed May 2012), by delaying the reinstatement Ramirez won through a union arbitration in 2012, and by circulating her charge to her co-workers and writing her up.

On June 30, 2015, Peters’ Bakery again tried to discharge Ramirez effective July 3, but the EEOC obtained a temporary order on July 2 to block the termination pending a hearing on the matter. On July 17, the Court enjoined Ramirez’s termination until the case is determined on the merits, or the court orders otherwise. In a written order issued July 22, the court observed that “permitting Ms. Ramirez to be terminated under such circumstances may well have a chilling effect on other employees who might wish to file charges with the EEOC, and thus could interfere with the EEOC’s mission.”

Here’s more about the case.



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