Employer Fakes Gruesome Active Shooter Drill Without Telling Anyone, Resulting in Mayhem

Employer Fakes Gruesome Active Shooter Drill Without Telling Anyone, Resulting in Mayhem

John Channels was hired by a real life employer to ambush its Nebraska office building simulating a mass shooting with an assault rifle holding blank cartridges and actors covered in fake blood. However, only two in the building knew of the active shooter drill, which led to a traumatizing show, and ended with Channel’s arrest for terroristic threats.

Catholic Charities, who were new to the building, had ordered an ambush on their building simulating a mass shooting on May 19. This “drill” began with Channels, wearing a dark hoodie and mask, firing blanks into the air and banging on the windows of a conference room from outside of the building. This caused genuinely terrified workers to flee the conference room and stumble on hired actors bleeding fake blood in the hallway.

Employees rushed to the building’s exits and many called 911. The police was not alerted ahead of time about the drill so they responded as if it were a legitimate active shooter incident. Channels was later arrested on five charges of terroristic threats, a separate gun count and was placed on bail at $300,000.

Prosecutors note that Channels was lucky no one was seriously injured. It was also uncovered that Channels had gone around asking ‘’hysterical” employees if they wanted to purchase a gun from him and lessons.

Channels’ attorney pointed out that the hysteria brought on by Channels was ultimately what Catholic Charities had ordered, “be real life-like.” Also, Channels had explained the exercise to the supervisors ahead of time in detail including requesting employees be kept in the dark and they okayed it.

Catholic Charities has denied asking for the drill to be so elaborate and claimed Channels had misrepresented himself and did not follow agreed upon procedures including alerting law enforcement of the drill. Channels, however, apparently did attempt to alert the Omaha police through written notice.

Channels’ attorney plans to depose Catholic Charities’ supervisors to prove Channels wasn’t the mastermind in order to eliminate the terroristic threats charges. Channels was taken into custody before obtaining written proof that Catholic Charities ordered the drill. In the end, Channels not only faces charges for the drill incident but also for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl and for production of child pornography, which he was arrested for in May.

Catholic Charities will also likely face legal liability for the horrendous effect this had to most of its employees.

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Report: Widespread Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination at Nintendo of America

Report: Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination at Nintendo of America

A new report has revealed another gaming workplace culture brimming with sexual harassment and gender discrimination: Nintendo of America. Through interviews with female employees at Nintendo, Kotaku pulled several reports of harassment by colleagues and pay inequality compared to male counterparts.

One former game tester, Hannah, recounted how she was retaliated against after reporting inappropriate sexual comments by a Nintendo employee in a workplace group chat. After reporting the behavior, she was told to be less outspoken. Hannah also found that she was being paid $3 less than a junior male tester and had an extra difficult time trying to get a pay increase. Hannah was also subject to sexual orientation-based harassment by male colleagues who she rejected advances from, including being told “Oh, you’re a lesbian. That’s kind of sad.”

Other female game testers had similar experiences as Hannah. Some employees spoke of a product testing lead who frequently commented on women’s weight and appearance. Because he was in charge of deciding contractors’ schedules, female testers were forced to endure his harassment.

Another alleged abuser of power, was from a more senior tester, who would stalk another contractor, but when she tried to report him he threatened to fire her. Further, a common complaint, was the lack of advancement and promotion opportunities compared to male counterparts at Nintendo.

Company chief Doug Bowser did not respond to Kotaku’s questioning but did previously address sexual harassment and sexist toxicity reports about Activision Blizzard, calling the accounts distressing and disturbing. Bowser proceeded to say that they ran counter to Nintendo’s values; however, this Kotaku report paints a different picture. The testers who spoke out in the publication are just some of the contractors who have been victim to the harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at Nintendo of America.

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National Origin & Race Discrimination – Case Example

If you have been harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against based on a protected category such as national origin, give our law firm a call at 310-400-5891 for your free confidential consultation

Mari and Claudia are Hispanic and both suffered harassment and discrimination based on their national origin by their employer.

Mari and Claudia were subjected to national-origin based harassment including being told: “Speak English only, I don’t understand Spanish,” and “You are in America, you have to speak English only.” They reported the illegal “English Only” policy but no corrective action was taken.

Mari and Claudia went on to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for harassment and discrimination based on national origin. Right after filing the EEOC complaints, Mari and Claudia’s employment was terminated in retaliation.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits an employer, including any supervisor, from harassing an employee based on national origin. We helped Mari and Claudia get justice for the racial harassment and retaliation they endured.

If you have been harasseddiscriminated, or retaliated against based on a protected category such as race or national origin, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

Learn more about National Origin / Race Discrimination Law

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Report: Apple Ignored and Retaliated Against Employees’ Complaining of Misconduct and Sexual Assault

Apple Retaliation

A report by The Financial Times has been released about Apple’s toxic culture of apathy and retaliation against employees’ serious complaints of colleague and employer misconduct, including reports of sexual assault. In a company that boasts of its inclusiveness and its boost in diversity, these allegations cast a shadow on the company. 

Multiple women have filed complaints of sexual abuse, bullying and other misconduct. Former employee Megan Mohr complained of a colleague removing her clothes while asleep and taking pictures of her during a platonic night out. In response, Apple HR described the allegations as “reprehensible” and “potentially criminal,” however because the employee did not violate Apple policy, nothing was done in response to Mohr’s complaint. 

Another complaint involved an Apple Store employee complaining about two instances of sexual assault including rape. Instead of listening to her complaints, HR treated her as the problem saying that after the accused individual returned from a 6 month “career experience,” she should be feeling better by the time he returned. After she was denied a transfer request, she was left continuing work at the same store as the accused. 

Another instance of HR ignoring its employees’ concerns was when an Apple IP attorney complained of a “toxic work environment” and “gaslighting” coming from a male vice-president who intended to fire her with false allegations that predated her arrival at Apple. HR reportedly ignored her allegations. 

The report also lists several employees complaining of Apple suppressing worker organizing and blocking message boards used by employees to make complaints of management misconduct and pay inequity. Apple retaliated against one software engineer, Cher Scarlett, after complaining to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and had been offered a severance demanding she turn in the NLRB complaint that list other employees’ names. She only accepted after Apple withdrew the demand, but she was forced to pull the complaint. However, after Apple said “it supports employees’ rights to freely speak” to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Scarlett leaked her complaint to the media which led to eight US state treasurers to ask the SEC to investigate Apple. 

A director in the legal department, Jayne Whitt, was reported to have told HR about a colleague who hacked her devices and threatened her life. Instead of taking it seriously, the investigative unit said she acted unprofessionally during their meeting during a time when Whitt was begging for help and reliving trauma. As a result, Whitt posted an essay describing the situation, which prompted an outpour of Apple employees’ support. However, Apple went on to fire her for an irrelevant six-year-old indiscretion, and Whitt now challenges Apple legally after she opened her eyes to the struggle of women in the company—especially with gender-pay disparity

Apple claims it thoroughly investigates misconduct allegations and strives to create an environment open to reporting from employees. However, Apple acknowledged its unmet ideals in some accounts, including those reported by The Financial Times, and admits these complaints should have been handled differently. Apple claims it will accordingly make changes to training and processes.

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NYC Bar Sweet & Vicious Owner Pays $500K To Staff In Sexual Harassment Case

NYC Bar Sweet & Vicious Owner Pays $500K To Staff In Sexual Harassment Case

The owner of Sweet & Vicious, a Manhattan-based bar, has agreed to pay a $500,000 settlement after sexually harassing and demeaning female and minority employees. According to filings made by New York Attorney General Letita James, Hakan Karamahmutoglu allegedly used sexist slurs such as “b–hes” and “cows,” he stole their tips, and allowed male managers and customers to threaten, and physically harass female staff.

The investigation of the allegations went on for 16 months and has concluded in a settlement to be split between 16 current and former workers.

The probe uncovered a hostile work culture where management turned their backs on customers harassing and physical threatening female bartenders. Management allowed customers to threaten stabbing, rape, physical assault, and allowed them to throw glasses at the women.

Investigations also revealed male managers being allowed to sexually harass the women. One male manger kissed and rubbed his body against one of the women and in another incident a manager made a sexual remark about a worker’s underwear.

During Interviews, the women told of the owner making harassing comments, touching and grabbing the employees, saying “I’m the owner, I can do what I want.” Additionally, he would use derogatory language in reference to the women and minority employees, saying things like “gangster” in reference to the black security guards, and calling a Puerto Rican manager a “terrorist” and “Puerto Rican trash.” He also told a female bartender “I like your fat black ass” and used homophobic slurs.

To make matters worse, the women were also made to work overtime without pay, their tips were stolen, and were denied meal and rest breaks. When a drunk customer threw a glass at a bartender’s head, the managers turned their backs. Anytime the women would raise concerns about the unsafe work environment, they were ignored.

In a press conference the women expressed how Hakan and the rest of management at the bar created a racist, sexist, and homophobic environment. One of them stated they were glad to hold the bar accountable and hoped it would discourage other like-minded employers in the industry from subjecting employees to similar harassment.

Karamahmutoglu denied all allegations saying they are untrue and do not reflect his character, stating that he only signed the agreement to bring closure to the whole thing. Along with the settlement, the company agreed to strengthen anti-sexual harassment and discrimination policies and be periodically monitored by the AG’s office.

The hospitality industry is riddled with a culture of unreported sexual harassment and discrimination. State law protects workers’ right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment, and the food service industry is no exception and cannot go unchecked.

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Sexual Harassment Complaints Ignored by Walgreens For a Year Leads to Murder of Teenager

Sexual Harassment Complaints Ignored by Walgreens For a Year Leads to Murder of Teenager

A teenager who was found dead at a Colorado Springs Walgreens had allegedly made sexual harassment complaints about the man now accused in her death about a year before her death.

According to arrest papers, 16-year-old Riley Whitelaw had verbally complained to store managers in 2021 about coworker Joshua Johnson’s unwanted sexual advances towards her and how he made her uncomfortable.

One year after her sexual harassment complaint, Riley is found dead in the break room of the Walgreens she worked at.  Johnson was taken into custody on charges of first-degree murder.

The arrest reports describe officers having found Riley’s body bloodied with neck injuries and no signs of life on the floor of the break room. Surveillance video showed Johnson stacking bins in front of the surveillance camera. The break room windows were also found taped over and the restroom-closed sign was in the area to keep people away. Riley’s body was found by the manager after he had viewed the surveillance. Johnson was arrested by state troopers the following day outside the city when they spotted him on the side of the interstate covered in cuts and bruises. He gave a story of being attacked at a Walgreens in Colorado Springs. When the troopers checked with Colorado Springs PD, they learned he was a suspect and was transported back to Colorado Springs where he’s being held without bond at El Paso County Jail.

In an interview, Johnson claims he went in the break room and fell in the blood and went home to change his clothes. He denied obstructing the camera and allegedly acknowledged having a crush on Riley at one point but then losing interest. 

Police interviews state otherwise. One of the managers reported that Riley had asked for a schedule change to avoid Johnson and was showing signs of jealousy when Riley’s boyfriend started working.

Sexual harassment is prohibited under California and federal law. It is illegal for employers to allow anyone to be sexually harassed at work. 

This is another reason why employers need to take immediate and strong corrective action when sexual harassment complaints are made.  Had Riley’s complaints been taken seriously, she may still be alive.

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Wage and Hour Violations – Case Example

Wage and Hour Case Example

Cecil was one of several employees misclassified as exempt from overtime by her employer. California’s Labor Code only allows select professionals, managers, and administrators to be exempt from overtime pay and breaks.    

Cecil’s employer intentionally misclassified her and her coworkers as exempt to avoid paying them anything for overtime worked.  Cecil and her co-workers regularly worked dozens of hours a week of overtime for no pay whatsoever.  

Further, Cecil’s employer failed to provide duty-free meal and rest periods and failed to pay one additional hour of pay for each duty-free meal or rest period that was not provided in accordance with California law.

We helped Cecil and her co-workers get a substantial settlement. 

If you believe you have been misclassified as an exempt employee and not paid overtime, our firm may be able to get you justice too. Give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

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Midyear 2022 Minimum Wage Increases Starting July 1st

Midyear 2022 Minimum Wage Increases Starting July 1st

This summer, several states and many local jurisdictions will increase their minimum wage rates. Starting July 1, 2022, states including Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington DC will increase their minimum wage. Locally, several cities and counties are also increasing their minimum wage effective July 1, 2022.

In California, there will be numerous minimum wage rate adjustments across several cities and counties.

Californians will see increases in minimum wage for the following jurisdictions:

· Alameda: $15.75

· Berkeley: $16.99

· Emeryville: $17.68

· Fremont: $16.00

· Long Beach (hotels with 100 or more guest rooms): $16.73

· Los Angeles City: $16.04

· Los Angeles City (hotels with 150 or more guest rooms): $18.17

· Unincorporated Los Angeles County: $15.96

· Malibu: $15.96

· Milpitas: $16.40

· Pasadena: $16.11

· San Francisco: $16.99

· Santa Monica: $15.96

· Santa Monica (hotels): $18.17

· West Hollywood (1–49 employees): $16.00

· West Hollywood (50 or more employees): $16.50

· West Hollywood (hotel workers): $18.35

Accordingly, employers with minimum wage workers must ensure their compensation practices are compliant with these changing laws in all jurisdictions in which they operate.

If you are not being paid properly, don’t get breaks or meal periods, haven’t been paid for overtime, have been retaliated against / terminated for complaining about wage & hour violations, or any other employment law violations, call us at 310-400-5891, for your free intake.

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SNL Cast Members Named As Alleged Witnesses To Sexual Assault In Newest Statement By Victim

SNL Sexual Assault Case

The Jane Doe plaintiff suing NBC and Horatio Sanz in a sexual assault case has made a new statement where she named several Saturday Night Live cast members as alleged witnesses to Sanz’s sexual assault of her. Amongst the named witnesses in the statement are Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, and Seth Meyers.

Jane Doe sued NBC and Sanz summer of 2021 alleging that Sanz had groomed her since she was 15 years old and he had groped her at a 2002 SNL afterparty. Doe was 17 years old at the time of the alleged assault. Doe recently made a statement in which she claimed that several cast members were within eyesight of the assault incident at the party.

Sanz had allegedly groped Doe in full view of his colleagues. Doe states that she and Ana Gasteyer made eye contact while Sanz groped her and Gasteyer was visibly startled in response. She also states that she saw Fey and Dratch looking at Sanz and Doe and were also visibly startled. Also named in her statement were Seth Meyers and Maya Rudolph who were facing them and Doe describes Rudolph looking disgusted.

In the statement, Doe states that she expressed her discomfort and desire to leave to Sanz but was dismissed by him despite the stares.

NBC denies liability for Sanz’s behavior, in their support of the company’s motion to dismiss the complaint. Sanz’s attorney also issued a denial last year, describing Doe’s allegations as false and claiming that Doe repeats her allegations and ropes in high-profile names to generate media attention.

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Amazon Accused of Systemic Disability Discrimination by New York State Agency

Amazon Disability Discrimination

The New York State Division of Human Rights has accused Amazon of discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers at its worksites.

A complaint was filed by the Agency claiming that Amazon has policies requiring workers to take unpaid leaves of absences even if they are capable of working, instead of providing reasonable accommodations.

The complaint blames Amazon for allowing worksite managers to ignore in-house accommodation consultants who recommend providing modified schedules or job responsibilities.

As per state law, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers who request them. “Disability” under California law is defined very broadly and can include many temporary medical conditions that can cause people to need time off or changes to their work duties. This includes employees with pregnancy-related medical conditions, which can also be considered disabilities.

In the complaint, Amazon is described to have forced one pregnant worker to continue lifting 25 pounds and put her on indefinite unpaid leave after she got injured. Additionally, it describes Amazon reversing recommendations to modify work schedules for two disabled employees, after the managers resisted the change.

The complaint seeks unspecified civil fines and penalties, which can go up to $50,000 for violations, or $100,000 for willful conduct. The complaint also calls for improved training and new policies for review of requests for reasonable accommodations.

Learn More About Disability Discrimination

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Shirazi Law Firm, PC

Shirazi Law Firm, PC

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