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Fry’s Electronics Pays $2.3 Mil For Keeping Sexual Harassment Under Wraps

Radford C. Aug 31, 2012 0

Whoopsie. We have quite a number of Fry’s Electronics stores lurking all over the Bay Area. In Ars Technica’s piece, a 20-year old America Rios was getting text messages from a Fry’s manager which crossed the lines of what would normally be typical communication. Offering her drinks, invitations to his home and making references to playing with her breasts, Mr. Rios had more than enough signs to believe there was some sexual harrasment going on and was enough to make it obvious over what was happening. Rios also tried asking the manager to stop. No go.

So she went to another manager, Mr. Ka Lam. who was higher up the chain than her immediate manager. Lam went right up to upper management. Needless to say, there was a collusion happening between upper management and certain store managers. No statements were taken from upper management. Instead Lam was fired.

Lam took the fight right back to Fry’s front door and brought the US government and EEOC with him and the suit began. This was 2010. During the suit, Judge Robert Lasnick found that Fry’s evidence was tainted by stalling the court and using the time to delete hard drives that Lam worked on (whom he may have left evidence on).

Because the Fry’s team had “deliberately engaged in deceptive practices,” the judge said, he hit them with $100,000 in sanctions—$25,000 each to the court, the EEOC, Rios, and Lam. Fry’s outside attorneys apologized to the court for their “error” in not disclosing certain information and for “any other fault the Court finds,” but insisted that the problems had largely been misunderstandings, not intentional deception.

Ultimately, Fry’s settled without admitting guilt and paid Ka Lam gets $1,564,000 for damages, lost wages, and attorney’s fees, while Rios gets $736,000.

“This was my first job, and I just wanted the harassment to stop. It really meant a lot to have my supervisor speak out for me, and it was horrifying to see him lose his job over it,” said Rios in a statement today. “I’m elated and relieved by the settlement, for Ka Lam’s sake as much as for mine.”

Via »Ars Technica