Archive for workplace lawsuit

Worker Alleges Mistreatment for Undergoing Chemotherapy

A lawsuit filed last month has shined the spotlight on San Francisco State University after an employee claimed that she was being harassed in the workplace for undergoing chemotherapy.

Angela Sposito’s work life was okay until she had to undergo chemotherapy in 2014 to treat a cancerous tumor. When she got back to work, her supervisors started to alienate her slowly.

Angela began being locked out of meetings, which she had access to previously, without being offered any explanation.

Sposito had, earlier in the year, been granted permission to bring her emotional support dog to the workplace. The dog, named Frankie, was supposed to help her get through her anxiety disorder. However, the university’s president Leslie Wong took issue with the animal saying that she did not want to be around Frankie. She also questioned the need for Sposito to have the dog with her in the workplace in a manner suggesting that she leave Frankie at home.

In 2015, Sposito had a new supervisor, Troi Carleton. Sposito alleges that Carleton tried to convince her to quit her job since she feared that she could one day find Sposito dead in the workplace.

A few months after working with her new supervisor, Sposito was unwillingly placed on administrative leave.

The lawsuit also alleged that during Sposito’s time on leave, the human resource staff began making false utterances regarding her cancer treatment. The suit cited Ann Sherman, who was the then associate vice president of HR, whom it alleges, communicated to other staff members that she believed Sposito was ailing from “chemo brain”.

Sposito was subjected to several fit-for-duty exams, before she was finally allowed to return to work in December 2016. At her return, she was transferred to the human resource department and placed with the same people that were causing her misery.

The university, however, denied the allegations and claimed that it acted appropriately. Daniel Ojeda, the school’s lawyer, argued that Sposito’s claims lacked merit and the university would provide a complete account of the facts to disavow these allegations.

Markedly, Sposito’s suit is not the first complaint to be filed in the courts against the school as Linda Ellis, who is a professor at the school, had accused the University of performing unfair medical exams.

Lawsuit against McDonald’s by Transgender—What Makes This Case Unique

Although other people have sued McDonald’s over sexual harassment, La’Ray Reed, a 25-year-old crew-member at a Redford, Michigan Mickey D’s, is alleging things and exposing issues that are unique.


What Are the Allegations?


Miss Reed, a transgender, alleges that:

  • She was a victim of not just verbal harassment but “physical”—i.e., involving being “groped” and touched inappropriately;
  • Both managers and fellow employees harassed her;
  • She did complain, only to be ignored, ridiculed, and, ultimately, fired;
  • She was denied access to both male and female bathrooms—instead forced to use a separate alternate, nasty-looking “closet” she was, to boot, forced to keep clean;
  • Her hours were cut short, was often sent home early, was denied contact with customers (instead being relegated to backroom duties), and was treated differently than other employees;
  • Inappropriate comments were routinely made against her;
  • She may have been singled-out because of her involvement with “Fight for $15,” an organization working to enhance/improve fast-food restaurants;
  • Abuse/discrimination led to depression and thoughts of suicide.


Why This Case May Have Serious Repercussions


Interestingly, McDonald’s has professed to be supportive of LGBT rights and, supposedly, has a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination.


Some of the legal and corporate-governance questions promising to heat things up include:

  1. Since this restaurant is a privately-owned franchise, to what extent can McDonald’s be held responsible?
  2. Will a settlement offer be made and accepted by Miss Reed or will this go to trial?
  3. Will the case go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary?
  4. How will this case affect the highly-charged environment involving sexual-identity/orientation rights?
  5. How will the Trump administration deal with cases like this?
  6. Will the federal government continue to allow states almost complete leeway regarding laws and policies on name and birth certificate changes, parental rights, and the other issues still-unresolved or only-partially-addressed?
  7. Will this case encourage more transgendered abuse victims to come forward?
  8. How many of Miss Reed’s allegations are true and to what extent will McDonald’s side with its franchisee?



Even if only half of Miss Reed’s allegations are true, this is still a very disturbing case. At the very least, McDonald’s may be motivated to more strongly enforce its corporate policies; more importantly, Miss Reed will get the justice all citizens deserve.