In 2015 a female construction worker from Melbourne, Kate Mathews sued her employers for abuse, bullying and sexual harassment. The Victorian Supreme court heard that colleagues threatened her with rape, showed her pornography, touched her inappropriately, asked about sex acts and more. She reported the abuse to management who laughed it off - Then she took them to court and won $1.36 Million. Her advice to other women? "Don't sit back and take it".
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An American jury awarded $A7.2 million to Brenda Lee, a female firefighter who challenged the Los Angeles Fire Department over harassment due to being African American and a lesbian. Lee claimed she was the target of derogatory comments, unsafe exercises and even had urine mixed into her mouthwash. A fellow colleague received $A1.99 million after claiming he was forced to retire after supporting Lee's case.
Oracle Corp is a technology giant with offices all over the world. Rebecca Richardson was a project manager at the Sydney branch who was repeatedly harassed by a male co-worker she was teamed with. The accused co-worker described his behaviour as "innocuous" to the court - But the judges didn't think so and awarded Richardson $18,000 in damages and after an appeal decided to award her $130,000 in 2014. Photo: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg
Teaching young women to stand up for their rights does pay off. Laura Connors started her first job when she was 15 at Praties restaurant in Tasmania. Her boss took advantage of his position to sexually harass her and silence her. Connors resigned in 2008 and began a three-year court battle against her former manager. He was ordered to pay her $12,000 in damages. Connors said “It was just seeing that the people in the court understood my pain and they believed me, it was so amazing they believed me...It’s not the money, not winning, it was that they knew he was wrong.”
in 2015, Bookstore Barnes & Noble were sued by Victoria Ramirez, a transgender woman who worked for the company for five years. The discrimination began when Ramirez began transitioning, and began painting her nails and wearing make-up. She was told to "think of the children" and that her transition would make her staff lose respect for her and that staff were not allowed to refer to her by her name. The lawsuit is ongoing.
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David Jones was embroiled in a high-profile sexual harassment case a few years ago. 25 year-old Kristy Fraser-Kirk accused her former boss, chief executive Mark McInnes of sexual harassment and unwanted advances. She told senior management and was told "You just need to be very clear and say 'No, Mark' and he'll back off." Fraiser-Kirk went further and launched a claim for $37 million in damages and received a settlement of $850,000 payout and the resignation of McInnes.
Launching the claim for up to $37 million in damages, the 25-year-old alleges she was the subject of "unwanted sexual advances" even after she complained to managers.
British policewoman, Carol Howard won a £37,000 pay out from the police after being discriminated against, bullied and harassed for her sex and race. She endured allegations (later dropped) that she abused an ex-partner and other allegations designed to discredit her. Photo: Youtube / Press TV
Another Silicon Valley fight for women's rights! A former Twitter employee, software engineer, Tina Huang alleged that Twitter had a culture that did not promote women, she even questioned her manager over the issue and was forced to take leave, removed from assignments and eventually forced to resign. The case is ongoing, watch this space. Photo: Adam Davidson
In February this year, a British woman, Meseret Kumulchew won a disability discrimination case against her employer, Starbucks who were aware she was dyslexic and punished her for writing incorrect information on rosters by firing her. There is now a trial to determine how much she should be compensated for. Photo: Adrian Brown
Women's clothing retailer Sussan's learned the hard way about training management. A new manager in a Queensland store was found to have bullied an employee who had returned from maternity leave. The employee quickly reported the bullying behaviour to state management, who didn't follow protocol and instead made the situation much worse. Sussan's was taken to court and awarded $240,000 in damages to the new mother.
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A former Facebook employee, Chia Hong is suing the company for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Hong alleged that harassment included "ignoring her opinions when she was the only female in meetings, ordering her to organise parties and serve drinks where no other male coworkers were asked to, telling her she wasn’t integrated with the team because she "looks different and acts different," and "asking plaintiff why she did not just stay home and take care of her child instead of having a career." The case was dismissed by Hong after private mediation. Photo: AP
Abercrombie and Fitch have been sued by 62,000 of their employees for a strict guide on how to dress and look while working in their stores. They were also separately sued in 2003 for hiring discrimination against female and Latino, African-American, and Asian American people who argued they were not hired despite strong qualifications or if hired "they were steered not to sales positions out front, but to low-visibility, back-of-the-store jobs, stocking and cleaning up." The tune of that suit was US$50 Million to be awarded to the people they discriminated against.
Are all tech companies secretly evil? A former high ranking Microsoft employee, Katherine Moussouris filed a suit against the Microsoft Corporation in 2015 alleging sex discrimination in the workplace. She filed on behalf of former and current women employed since 2010 and alleged that Microsoft engaged in systemic discrimination against female employees in technical and engineering roles. The gender-bias was seen in performance evaluations, pay, and the promotion of less qualified men over highly qualified women. Photo: Bloomberg
Bank of America Merrill Lynch got hit where it hurts, when they had to pay $39 million to settle a gender bias lawsuit by female brokers who claimed they were paid less than men and missed out on managing lucrative accounts. The settlement came only two weeks after the announcement of a $160 million settlement to African American staffers in the same company. Bank of America was also accused of retaliating against female brokers who complained of bias. Photo: AP
In 2001, six female employees took Walmart all the way to US federal court, alleging that Walmart discriminated against them, and all female employees in salary, bonuses and training. The case was the largest workplace bias case in US history. The case was lost 5-4, but set a precedent for similar suits across the country. Photo: AFP
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