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Man files lawsuit alleging retaliation after complaint

A man has filed a lawsuit against Trader Joe's, alleging that he was fired in retaliation for complaining about possible sexual harassment. In this case, the harassment was in the form of a sex toy gift that was given to the plaintiff at a company Christmas party.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff attended a company Christmas party during his seventh year of working for Trader Joe's. The plaintiff was not scheduled to work on the day that the party took place, but he said he attended anyway out of pressure. He felt that if he did not attend, his relationship with his coworkers might suffer.

At the party, the plaintiff said several coworkers seemed very interested that he open a gift. The gift was given to him by a female coworker and the plaintiff opened the gift in front of several people, including his own supervisor. He said the gift contained a small toy shaped like a penis. The penis would grow if put into water, and was some type of gag gift.

The entire situation made the plaintiff uncomfortable and he later reported it to human resources. He said that human resources said they would investigate the case. The plaintiff said that one of his supervisors didn't appear to take the matter seriously and alleges that the same person questioned him later about accusations from another employee. The employee who gave him the inappropriate gift reportedly teased him about his reaction to the event.

The plaintiff was fired in January, and he alleges that it was in retaliation for making the report about the gift. He is suing for punitive and compensatory damages for wrongful termination.

Sexual harassment can take many forms. If you believe you are dealing with harassment or have been fired for reporting possible harassment, then working with a lawyer can help you understand your options for moving forward.

Source: MyNewsLA.com, "Fired from Trader Joe’s for complaining about sex toy Christmas party gift?," April 20, 2016

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