Bononi Law Group, LLP, Wins $1.3 Million Jury Verdict In Sexual Harassment And Retaliation Case

Attorney Michael J. Bononi Of The Pasadena Employment Law Firm Bononi Law Group, LLP, Secures Victory For Former CenCal Employee

Julie Fagundes, a former saleswoman for CenCal Beverage Co., LLC, was recently awarded approximately $1.3 million by a jury in a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employer. The jury found that other employees, supervisors and management at the Ceres-based CenCal had repeatedly sexually harassed the former saleswoman and wrongfully retaliated against her for complaining of the hostile work environment.

California employment law attorney Michael J. Bononi of Bononi Law Group, LLP, noted that Ms. Fagundes was "very happy with the jury verdict," and that she was relieved to finally be putting the whole matter behind her. Because of the workplace harassment, Ms. Fagundes suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); her treating therapist testified at trial that it may take years for Ms. Fagundes to recover from the years of harassment she experienced at CenCal.

According to the lawsuit, the harassment began in 2007 when former L&M Distributors merged with B&W Distributors to form CenCal. At the time of the merger, the operations manager commented on what he considered Ms. Fagundes' lack of knowledge of the business despite her having worked for L&M for the past five years. When she questioned him about his comments, he replied, "[S]kirts don't belong in this business."

"She started at L&M Distributors when she was 22 years old. It was pretty much the only job she'd ever had," explained Bononi. She made multiple attempts to stop the workplace harassment, but the company did nothing. She submitted written complaints to the president of CenCal. The president shared some of these written complaints with other employees, while telling Ms. Fagundes she was "too emotional" and she needed "to let things go."

Among the instances of harassment in the workplace complained of in the lawsuit, Ms. Fagundes was groped on her breasts and buttocks and subjected to verbal harassment, name calling and pornography while at work. Bononi noted that his client had also complained to the company's human resources manager, but she refused to do anything to stop the harassment because of her own financial ties to CenCal's president.

A confidential settlement was reached as to punitive damages against CenCal on the sexual harassment and retaliation claims.

The Pasadena employment lawyers at Bononi Law Group, LLP, represent individuals in employment harassment and discrimination cases throughout California. To learn more about the law firm, please visit www.bononilawgroup.com. If you have a question about sexual harassment in the workplace, the firm can also be reached at 213-550-5503.