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Former Employees Sue Over Culture Of Sexual Harassment At CA Company

Two former employees of Capital Asset Exchange and Trading (CAET) have alleged in separate employment discrimination and harassment lawsuits against the California employer that it cultivated a culture of sexual harassment through vulgar actions and speech. Both were employed as capital equipment traders for the Redwood City-based company.

The lawsuits also contain claims for wrongful termination and constructive discharge based on the culture of harassment and hypersexuality bred at CAET.

In their lawsuits, both former employees complain of long days, unpaid overtime and unrealistic expectations for meeting customer demands. They were expected to be in the office 14 hours per day and return customer phone calls within 20 minutes at any time, day or night, or risk losing sales to colleagues. For traders who worked at least in part on commission, the loss of any one sale was the loss of a substantial pay check.

Possibly most shocking about the employment discrimination lawsuits are the extensive descriptions of a sexually-charged workplace. One of the employees suing CAET, a female, noted in her court documents that she was regularly asked if her (female genetalia) hurt when she expressed disagreement with male management. Vulgar gestures of male genetalia were used to celebrate large sales and one manager told the female employee that women simply don't belong in CAET's industry.

The former male CAET employee who is also suing the company alleges that he was wrongfully identified, in front of colleagues, as pursuing a prostitute on a business trip to Las Vegas when in fact it was his manger who engaged the woman. He was advised not to report the incident and given the explanation that these things happened all the time at CAET.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "The Worst Bosses in the World?," February 22, 2013

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