In the Media:
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly: "Woman said she was subject to sex discrimination -Plaintiff claimed her complaints unheeded by management" 02/18/2015
Description of Case:
Monica is a gay woman, and everyone at Defendant Vic Canever knew this. She was a car detailer/cleaner for the Vic Canever dealership. She came in and did her job well, if not better than any of her male co-workers. When first hired, she was told by her immediate supervisor, “I can’t believe they hired you! A woman cannot do this work!” Additionally, some time before her termination of employment, Monica was subjected to sex discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as numerous and forceful touchings and assaults and batteries. Just one example of Defendants' acts of intimidation and assault and battery was when Plaintiff was cornered in the workplace and her male co-workers pressed their genitals into her back, and actually had that co-worker pump and grind against her in a repeated motion, essentially dry-humping her, while telling her, “I will turn you straight!”. In addition to this, she was subjected to daily questions about her sex life. She was also subjected to co-workers telling her, “You’ll clean the bathroom because that’s a woman’s job!”.
Plaintiff reported these incidents to her supervisors, who not only declined to get involved, but shrugged off what she was going through, and told Plaintiff, “Oh, you know how Glenn (her assaulter) is.” In fact, Plaintiff repeatedly complained to Defendant Employer to stop the above conduct, but they deliberately failed and/or refused to do so.
Legally, the type of "sex stereotyping" Defendants subjected Plaintiff to is specifically actionable pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Price Waterhouse v Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 235 (1989), where the plaintiff was told to, "for God's sake, put some jewelry on, put some perfume on, dress and act like a woman if you want to make partner!". And, same sex harassment was also made specifically actionable by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc, 523 US 75 (1998). Most importantly, what made this an extremely dangerous case for Defendants to try in front of a jury is Michigan's Ethnic Intimidation law, found in MCLA 750.147(b), which provides that if there is gender discrimination and actual threats or contact – such as dry-humping a woman to "screw her straight" – whatever damages the jury awards are tripled!!!
This case settled through an Genesee County ADR panel for $60,000.
Attorneys for this case were Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko, and Jarrett M. Pabst.
Type of Action: ELCRA Ethnic Intimidation, Hostile Work Environment, Opposition/Retaliation, and Assault and Battery
Injuries Alleged: Loss of income, mental anguish, emotional distress
Name of Case: McVay v. Vic Canever Chevrolet, et al
Court: Genesee County Circuit Court
Case No: 13-101477-CZ
Name of Judge: Judge Judith Fullerton
Key to Winning: Defendants' fear of Ethnic Intimidation statute's trebled damages in front of a jury
Attorney for Plaintiff: Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko, and Jarrett M. Pabst
Attorney for Defendant: Withheld