San Jose tech firm was sued recently after one of its security managers, harassed his female colleague. It all started when he talked about his genitalia at a company party. Due to fear of retaliation, his female workmates didn’t report him to the human resource manager despite being uncomfortable with his utterances.
Robert Lobach, a security contractor at the firm and an ex-San Jose policeman, urged the aggrieved employees to file their complaints with the HR. However, they hesitated, a move that prompted Robert to file the complaint on their behalf. According to the lawsuit, the workers gave Robert the green light which eventually got him fired.
Before approaching the Xilinx HR department, Robert personally met with each employee to get explicit details of what transpired in December 2017. Chris Ward, who heads the firm’s security operations, was in attendance.
The court heard that during the celebration, Ward narrated a story concerning a man who intended to cut off his private parts. He further praised his genitalia and declared his intense desire to protect his organs from assailants.
Many women, near Ward at that moment, were contractors from Allied Universal Security Services. The company provides vital services to Xilinx. When Ward noticed that his colleagues were uncomfortable with his utterances, he said he had the right to opine. After all, he was the client.
Xilinx disputed Robert’s claim that he got fired. Through their lawyer, the company said that Allied Services had re-hired him after he filed the complaint. One of its spokespersons said that the firm doesn’t want to harbor harassment of employees at their workplace. Furthermore, the company stated that their Code of Conduct explicitly discourages such behaviors.
The spokesperson claimed that the firm is committed to creating a comfortable workplace for all its workers and contractors. It also takes any violation concerns seriously. Also, Xilinx gives strict punishment to those found culpable of sexual harassment.
At the time the court issued the new lawsuit, #MeToo movement had established a foundation in Silicon Valley. It fights against sexual harassment of women employees in venture capital and tech firms.
A week after the party, Robert approached the firm’s HR and explained female contractors’ concerns. Consequentially, the company fired him the following day. Robert filed his case on Tuesday at the Santa Clara County court where he is asking for unspecified damages.
Roberts’ name might be familiar to most readers of the Mercury News. Back in 2015, while working as Branham high school’s security guard, some assailants stabbed him in the back. He was dispersing individuals drinking alcohol and smoking bang. The knife’s blade hit his spine protecting him from serious injury.