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Posted on September 3, 2020 Issues: Workplace Justice

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), along with co-counsel Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP, filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California, San Diego County, against cable manufacturing company CableConn Industries, Inc., its CEO and President Lisa Coffman, and two company supervisors. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, along with other state laws, by sexually harassing and assaulting the three women and failing to prevent and appropriately address the unsafe work environment. This release details the allegations of the complaint.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two former employees of CableConn, Mhychelle Pieper and Ana Nuno, and a current employee, Claudia Carson, claims each faced sexual harassment and, in some cases, sexual assault by CableConn supervisors. The plaintiffs are women of color who worked as cable assemblers at the company. In Pieper’s case, repeated unwanted sexual advances culminated in sexual assault.  Nuno was subjected to unwanted sexual advances, sexual rumors, and separate instances of forcible sexual touching. As alleged in the lawsuit, Cable Conn failed to investigate and address its supervisors’ misconduct and, instead, protected the harassers and allowed them to remain in positions where they continued harassing the women. When the company retaliated against the women, Pieper and Nuno recognized they had no choice other than to resign.

“The sexual harassment I faced at work grew so intolerable, I was forced to leave a job that I took pride in —but when the company did nothing to help me, I refused to be a victim and fall prey to the abuse of a serial sexual harasser,” said Mhychelle Pieper. “I am fighting for justice and I will not let CableConn bully me, force me into submission, and take away my dignity.”

After Ana Nuno resigned, one of her harassers started to sexually harass her mother, Claudia Carson, who worked at the company. Carson reported the sexual harassment to CableConn management and filed a written complaint in Spanish, her primary language. CableConn claimed to conduct an investigation but, as stated in today’s filing, it prejudiced the outcome by telling Carson before the investigation was complete that it was a “he said, she said” situation and the company would not be able to do anything. 

“Everyone deserves a safe work environment that’s free from sexual harassment, but unfortunately that’s not the reality in many workplaces across America” said Jennifer Mondino, Director of Legal Programs for the Legal Network for Gender Equity at the NWLC. “Too many companies still sweep sexual harassment under the rug and then push women out of their jobs by retaliating against them when they report the abuse. We will continue to fight in the courts to end this scourge.”  

The lawsuit additionally seeks recourse for various wage and hour violations by CableConn, including its failure to provide the women with legally required meal breaks and related pay. Despite regularly forcing the plaintiffs and other employees to work more than 10 consecutive hours, CableConn refused to provide these breaks or fair compensation for these hours.

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