Things That Matter

A Lawsuit Claims That Employees In San Diego-Area Albertsons Were Banned From Speaking Spanish

Albertsons is facing controversy after a new lawsuit claims the retailer forbid employees from speaking Spanish in San Diego-area stores. According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the retail chain developed the unwritten policy in 2012. Employees who were caught speaking Spanish would be publicly reprimanded by store managers, according to the lawsuit. Despite multiple employee complaints, the supermarket chain did not change the policy, forcing some employees to transfer.

A lawsuit filed by the EEOC claims employees in some stores were barred from speaking Spanish while working, including to Spanish-speaking customers.

The lawsuit specifies an Albertsons store located San Diego as subjecting “Hispanic employees to harassment and a hostile work environment” due to the imposed policies.

“It is extremely important for workers to feel safe in coming forward to report harassment,” Christopher Green, EEOC’s San Diego office director, told NBC San Diego. “It is equally important for employers to make certain that harassment is investigated and addressed appropriately.”

According to the lawsuit, an upper-level manager at an Albertsons store told Latino employees that “they could not speak Spanish anywhere on the premises regardless of whether they were on break.”

“While we cannot comment on this pending litigation specifically, Albertsons does not require that its employees speak English only,” company spokeswoman Jenna Watkinson told the LA Times. “Albertsons serves a diverse customer population and encourages employees with foreign language abilities to use those skills to serve its customers.”

Yet, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Albertsons employees Guadalupe Zamorano and Hermelinda Stevenson both filed complaints to management in 2012 after they were reprimanded for speaking Spanish. Both eventually requested transfers to different stores citing harassment.

There has been immediate backlash on social media due to claims of the lawsuit.

Many are defending the workers and even calling for a boycott to the supermarket chain, which employs some 280,000 employees across 35 states.

Coincidentally Albertsons posted a tweet about Cinco de Mayo that has some calling them “hypocrites”.

The lawsuit asks the court to order Albertsons to stop discriminating against employees based on their national origin, to compensate the aggrieved employees for monetary losses and emotional pain according to proof at trial, to award punitive damages and to pay the EEOC’s legal costs.


Read: Motel 6 Is Being Sued By Two States For Violating Privacy Acts By Giving Guests Lists To ICE

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A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Fierce

A Latina Firefighter in Boston Says the Department Retaliated Against Her When She Reported That She Was Sexually Assaulted by a Colleague

Credit: Screenshot via CBS/WBZ

A former female firefighter was just given a settlement of $3.2 million by the city of Boston for what she characterized as a culture of sexual harassment, shaming, and silencing. Nathalie Fontanez says she was retaliated against by the Boston Fire Department for reporting a sexual assault she experienced at the hands of a colleague.

In 2018, Fontanez says she was sexually assaulted by fellow firefighter David Sanchez.

It all began when Fontanez joined the Boston Fire Department in 2011. The department was looking to hire fluent Spanish speakers, and Fontanez considered the opportunity a “golden ticket”. It was an opportunity for her, a single mom, to provide for her daughter without the assistance of welfare. And, she could prove to her daughter that women can do anything.

But Fontanez’s dream soon turned into a nightmare. After joining the department, she faced an inordinate amount of hazing and harassment because she was a woman and a Latina.

“I’m not a veteran. I’m not a man. I’m a Latin woman. If there was a totem pole, I was at the very bottom,” she explained. “I felt that I had to tolerate anything that came my way, because I was lucky to be there,” she said.

Per Fontanez, the incidents escalated until the day in question when she was assaulted at the firehouse by Sanchez.

After reporting the incident to her superiors, she says that her colleagues turned on her.

In a recent press conference, Fontanez explained the experience in more detail. “Incidents began to escalate and I was then shamed and labeled a trouble-maker,” she said. “The guys that I once relied on for my life’s safety now turned against me.”

While Sanchez was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years of probation, Fontanez says that she was harassed and isolated by her station mates. According to her, the retaliation also included being denied a promotion and being ignored at social events.

“I was often reminded by some of my colleagues that I had taken a job from a man who could have been providing for his family, even though I was a single parent providing for mine,” she said.

Last month, the city settled with Fontanez for $3.2 million. But Fontanez says it’s not about the money–it’s about changing the toxic culture of firehouses. 

“I’m breaking my silence because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” Fontanez said during the news conference. “However, at this point that is the dream, but not the reality, for many women firefighters. The department is overdue for change, and the time for change is now.”

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New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Entertainment

New Lawsuit Alleges that Alex Rodriguez is Guilty of Embezzlement and Racketeering: ‘He is a serial cheater and liar’

Photo via Getty Images

It looks like scandal just can’t stay away from A-Rod. The former Yankees all-star is now facing controversy based off of the claims filed in a lawsuit by his former brother-in-law, Constantine Scurtis.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez is a pathological liar and cheater who embezzled millions of dollars through shady real estate deals.

The lawsuit states: “Defendant Alex Rodriguez, a former Yankees baseball player, is a serial cheater and liar. After cheating on his wife, Cynthia, and lying about his affairs, Alex Rodriguez then lied to and cheated his brother in law in their real estate partnership.”

According to Scurtis, he and Rodriguez formed a real estate partnership around the beginning of A-Rod’s marriage to his sister, Cynthia. The initial deal was that the duo would leverage A-Rod’s star power to attract clients and sales and would get 95% of the profits. Scurtis would get the rest of the profits, including acquisition fees when applicable.

Scurtis says that A-Rod sold their joint company without his consent and without giving him any of the profits.

But per Scurtis, in 2008, around the time that Rodriguez’s marriage to his first wife dissolved, A-Rod abruptly booted Scurtis from the partnership. Scurtis alleges that, up until that point, Rodriguez had previously lied to him and assured him that nothing would change in their business dealings.

The lawsuit also alleges that Rodriguez committed various acts of fraud, including concocting a “scheme to profit off of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike.”

Hurricane Ike was a natural disaster that resulted in at least 195 deaths and billions of dollars in damage in 2008.

Scurtis says that Rodriguez committed insurance fraud, faking accounting records to claim that his properties sustained significantly more damage than they actually did.

The lawsuit alleges that A-Rod bribed an official who caught wind of the scheme to keep quiet.

“Through their racketeering,” the lawsuit said, “Rodriguez and his co-conspirators have caused Scurtis many millions of dollars in damages.”

Scurtis’s lawyer says that A-Rod will “face a jury on August 2, 2021, to answer claims that he and his co-conspirators engaged in a pattern of racketeering and embezzlement.”

“Scurtis never suspected that the tussle over the day-to-day operation of the business arising from his sister’s divorce would be followed by a systematic and fraudulent effort to eliminate Scurtis’s equity in the venture and strip him of the future financial rewards to which he was rightfully entitled,” says the lawsuit.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that Scurtis has brought a lawsuit against his ex-brother-in-law.

There seems to be no love lost between these two former business partners. Over the years, Scurtis has filed a multiple lawsuits against the Dominican ex-MVP, including a $100 million one in 2015 that included many of the same allegations. It is unclear how that situation ended, but judging by the newest lawsuit, Scurtis’s previous ones have not been successful.

As for A-Rod, he is hitting back at Scurtis’s claims, and filed a countersuit denying the accusations. We guess we’ll just keep our eyes peeled to see how this all turns out.

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