San Bernardino Nonprofit named in Sexual Harassment Suit

Female Supervisor allege Sexual Harassment by the Boss

California – Rolling Start, Inc., a non-profit organization located in numerous counties including San Bernardino that supports individuals with disabilities in an independent living center has been accused of allowing sexual harassment in the work environment. Last month a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in San Bernardino Superior Court against the nonprofit organization on behalf of a former supervisor, Stacy Minwalla, who alleged she experienced supervisor sexual harassment.

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Minwalla has been employed at the federally and state funded nonprofit organization for six months. During the six months, January through June, Minwalla claims she experienced unwanted physical contact from her boss, Ernesto Contreras. According to Minwalla, Contreras touched her sexually and released sexual remarks directed towards her in the presence of others. Other incidents involved Contreras making physical contact with Minwalla’s rear end. To add insult to injury, Contreras allegedly responded in a sniveling manner considering he “didn’t get front action.” Contreras’ actions and comments are disrespectful and inappropriate in the workplace.

Minwalla noted that Contreras worked at a desk relatively close in her office. On one particular occasion Minwalla alleged Contreras groped his private parts and inform her “You’re going to get a show today.” As Contreras proceeded with his inappropriate behavior, Minwalla claims Contreras revealed his genitals as he continued to grope them in front of her.

As an employee, this kind of behavior tends to interrupt one’s ability to complete his or her work duties. A clear mind helps individuals assist the individuals with disabilities in the independent living center. Sometimes graphic visuals of being flashed unexpectedly by a male’s private parts create a discomforting environment that a victim wants to escape. Under these circumstances, contact a sexual harassment lawyer for legal assistance.

Minwalla continued to remind Contreras that she was a married woman with a family, and that didn’t stop him from sexually harassing her. He continued to rub his private parts in her presence. Minwalla said she informed the executive director, Jan Vitro, about the sexual harassment she face on the regular basis, and he failed to take action against Contreras for his unprofessional actions.

Vitro allegedly declined to listen to Minwalla’s concerns regarding her work related issues. Instead, he informed Minwalla that Contreras is her “right hand man,” and she needs to work things out with him in order for the two of them to “get along.” Encouraging a victim to work things out with his or her perpetrator is not a part of the law. You should seek a sexual harassment lawyer today.

Minwalla’s Workplace Retaliation Experience

In the event that Minwalla decided against getting along with Contreras, Minwalla claims Vitro said he would demote her. In early May, Minwalla chose to file an official sexual harassment complaint in the Department of Fair Housing and Labor. In her sexual harassment complaint, she described the sexual harassment from Contreras in detail. After Minwalla filed her sexual harassment complaint, she alleged Vitro retaliated against her immediately.

Vitro’s workplace retaliation exceeded the basic level of retaliation. He allegedly innovated an entire “campaign of retaliation.” According to the sexual harassment lawsuit, the campaign of retaliation consisted of an overload of extra work and additional evaluations of the work she produced, amongst other unspecified actions. On a normal day, Minwalla wouldn’t have these problems at work. Ever since she filed an official sexual harassment complaint, Vitro’s responses to her evolved from bad to worse.

Sexual harassment and workplace retaliation continued to be an ongoing issue for Minwalla after she filed an official sexual harassment complaint. She decided to inquire about a demotion, so she could work in an environment where Contreras would often be absent. In lieu of a demotion to escape Contreras, Vitro extended an offer that would place Minwalla closer to Contreras.

In early June, Minwalla was notified about having an acute stress disorder. Due to her new diagnosis, Minwalla was place on a short-term leave. The short-term leave was extended for an additional two weeks according to the sexual harassment lawsuit. During the medical leave, Minwalla said Vitro contacted her regarding his new job offer. She informed Vitro about her condition and explained that a hostile work environment was not conducive to her health.

In addition to expressing her concerns, she informed Contreras and Vitro on June 13 by email with the doctor’s authorization about her medical leave that was cleared until June 26. Nearly two days later, Minwalla was subjected to wrongful termination allegedly “due to the false and/or pretextual reason of the plaintiff not responding to Vitro’s job offer by June 10.” Although the jury is still out on whether Minwalla was wrong for a delayed response to accept or reject a new position, it has nothing to do with terminating her from her current position.

Minwalla is currently seeking general damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees. In Minwalla’s defense, she is not the only victim of sexual harassment at Rolling Start Inc., and Minwalla’s sexual harassment lawyer is working diligently to assist them.

Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you have ever experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in New York, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact a sexual harassment lawyer at the Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York, New Jersey, or Philadelphia. Our sexual harassment lawyers are knowledgeable about the federal and state laws that protect employees from sexual harassment, and willing to assist them with their sexual harassment cases. For more information on sexual harassment, read our employment law blog.


New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia Employment Attorneys

If you feel you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment in New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, then you should immediately contact the NYC, NJ, PA sexual harassment lawyers at the employment law firm of DEREK T. SMITH LAW GROUP, PLLC. No one deserves a hostile work environment.

Call today to schedule a FREE sexual harassment legal advice Consultation in NY, NJ & PA with one of our top rated sexual harassment attorneys here at the Derek T. Smith Law Group you can reach us online or by calling 877-4NYLAWS. Our NYC employment law attorneys handle a variety of cases involving sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and other employment-related claims. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. to serve you.

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