A California company could be sued if an employee is fired for complaining about sexual harassment, and that has happened at a Trader Joe's supermarket. The ex-employee filed an internal complaint against a co-worker who gave him an offensive gift at a company Christmas party. His employer fired him the next month.
A Trader Joe's store held a Christmas party in December 2014. The store's crew members were expected to go to the party, and the plaintiff was in attendance. Even though he was not on the schedule for that day, he said he felt obligated to go. A gift exchange was part of the event. One of his female co-workers gave him a gift that he said people seemed anxious for him to open. What he received was a sex toy that looked like small male sex parts that became larger when put into water.
The man said he felt humiliated and embarrassed by this. He filed a complaint and told his supervisors that he would have been disciplined or fired for giving a gift like that to a female employee. He felt that one supervisor in particular was unconcerned about the issue. In January 2015, he was told his issue was under investigation, and two days later he was fired. He is suing Trader Joe's for wrongful discharge, retaliation, negligence, sexual harassment and failure to prevent sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is unfortunately a significant problem in workplaces around the country, and it can happen to employees regardless of their gender. Retaliation by an employer as a result of a complaint being made is also prohibited, and a person who has been harmed in this manner may want to have legal assistance in rectifying the situation.