The Blankenship Law Firm and Federal Government Advance Employee Rights, Sue National Retail Chain Fry’s Electronics for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
Supervisor Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment of Female Sales Associate To Fry’s Headquarters and Management
SEATTLE, WA – September 29, 2010 — National retail chain Fry’s Electronics violated state and federal laws by failing to take action against the sexual harassment of a young female employee and retaliating against her supervisor, Ka Lam, after he spoke out on her behalf. Today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The Blankenship Law Firm has already filed claims in Washington state court on May 21, 2010 on Mr. Lam’s behalf and is moving to join the federal case today.
A high-level manager of Fry’s Renton, Washington store began targeting sales associate America Rios in early 2007 for sex. Even though Rios was under 21 years old at the time and had repeatedly refused his advances, the harasser continually sent her sexually charged text messages with invitations to his house and offers of alcohol.
Rios reported the harassment to her immediate supervisor, Ka Lam, one of the first employees at the Fry’s Washington location. When Lam spoke to headquarters and upper management on her behalf, he was told to focus on his job and that some “changes might be happening.” Within days, Fry’s suspended Mr. Lam and shortly thereafter fired him, falsely claiming poor performance. EEOC findings, however, prove that Mr. Lam had never received a bad review and was consistently promoted during his four years with the company.
According to Scott Blankenship, Mr. Lam’s attorney, “Mr. Lam would do it again, even though it cost him his job and a career at Fry’s. Every woman in the workplace is someone’s daughter, mother or sister.”
“I could not stand by and allow Ms. Rios and other women to be exposed to this toxic environment where they were being targeted for sex by Fry’s management, so I stood up for her,” said Mr. Lam.
“These laws protect women, and they would be toothless without people as courageous as Mr. Lam who report sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Seattle attorney Scott Blankenship.
“Washington has a long and proud history of furthering the rights of women and employees. Washington’s Law Against Discrimination has broader remedies and is one of the most comprehensive in the nation. We look forward to working with the EEOC to enforce these important laws and applaud the EEOC’s efforts in further exposing the sexual harassment and retaliation at Fry’s,” said Seattle attorney Scott Blankenship.
The Blankenship Law Firm, P.S., is an AV-rated law firm located in downtown Seattle with lawyers licensed in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. The firm practice emphasizes employment law, including representing employees in all phases of negotiation and litigation. More information is available online at www.blankenshiplawfirm.com.