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    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2012 edited
    ( With Picture: ) Two former employees of Fry’s Electronics received a $2.3 million settlement as a result of a discrimination lawsuit against the store on Aug. 30, 2012. The case arose from the continued sexual harassment of America Rios, an employee at Fry’s Renton location, and employer retaliation of Ka Lam for his attempt to investigate the harassment.  
    In addition to the settlement, Fry’s Electronics was sanctioned $100,000 for withholding information that was central to the case. Fry’s attorneys failed to provide information in the discovery phase of the lawsuit which would have revealed that the accused employee who harassed Rios had been investigated for a previous sexual harassment claim. The attorney for Rios and Lam, Scott Blankenship, indicated Fry’s claim that it stumbled upon a written complaint of the prior harassment, which was not originally disclosed. According to Blankenship, Fry’s did not think they were required to produce the information.  
    “This seven-figure settlement, among the highest EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) settlements ever on a per-claimant basis, follows court-ordered sanctions, including a penalty of $100,000 due to Fry’s abusive discovery tactics, which included destroying relevant evidence, wrongfully withholding evidence, and filing frivolous motions,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “The case should send a clear message that sexual harassment of vulnerable employees remains a serious problem in this country, as is employer retaliation against those who report harassment.”  
    Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Washington after initial attempts to resolve the dispute voluntarily failed.  
    Rios and Lam were Fry’s Electronics employees. Rios became the victim of sexual harassment by another employee, receiving constant text messages from an assistant manager that noted how good she looked, offered her alcohol despite being 20 years of age, invited her to his home, and asked to play with her breasts.  
    Lam, Rios’ direct supervisor, attempted to investigate and report the claims, but was told by Fry’s management that talking about the issue was “unproductive behavior” and was told that Fry’s had let a whole department go due to unnecessary “gossip.”  
    Knowing the management culture within the Renton store, Lam attempted to contact corporate headquarters in San Jose, Calif., but corporate headquarters simply turned the investigation back over to the Renton store, instead of requesting an outside agency. The Renton store manager, who would be in charge of the investigation, was a personal friend with the individual harassing Rios.  
    Thus, it was unlikely that the investigation would uncover the problems Rios faced.  
    Lam had been an employee since 2003, and his work earned him a supervisor position in the audio-visual department at the Renton store. Lam did not originally think that his position at Fry’s would turn into a career, but he grew with the company. Prior to the issues with the company, Lam enjoyed his job.  
    “I loved working there. Everyone was friendly,” he said.  
    America Rios was 20 years old when she started working at Fry’s. She was assigned to the same department as Lam and sought Lam’s help when the harassment became too much.  
    “As a subordinate, it was my responsibility that I needed to report it (the harassment),” Lam said.  
    “She was a friend of mine.”  
    When Mr. Lam attempted to report the harassment, he was suspended and eventually terminated from his position. While he moved up the ranks at the electronics store based on merit, the official reason for his firing was due to his performance. Not only did Lam’s superiors refuse to hear his concerns for another employee, but his employer, who he had dutifully worked for, indicated that his sales performance was the reason he was fired. Yet, Lam believed that the sales information Fry’s provided him was incorrect.  
    “This was my first job, and I just wanted the harassment to stop. It really meant a lot to have my supervisor speak out for me, and it was horrifying to see him lose his job over it,” Rios said. “I’m elated and relieved by the settlement, for Ka Lam’s sake as much as for mine.”  
    Walking away with one of the largest settlements ever against a company in the Pacific Northwest, Lam is relieved that the case ended the way it did.  
    “It validates what I did,” Lam said of his decision to file a lawsuit. “I hope that Fry’s changes its thought process on what it does and takes people more seriously,” Lam said.  
    As a part of the settlement, Fry’s agreed to take steps to prevent future harassment or retaliation, including ongoing training for all employees and management, as well as posting notice for all its employees about the settlement.  
    Rios has moved on and is working in a managerial position at a local bank. Mr. Lam is happily employed, although he is contemplating going back to school.  
    With corporate offices in San Jose, Calif., Fry’s Electronics sole Washington store is in Renton. Attempts to contact Fry’s Electronics and its attorneys were not returned. (end)

    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2012
    pays to look good.
      CommentAuthorGuest 4471
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2012
    How much of a blow is this considering Fry's is also in serious financial trouble?
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2012
    Usually there is an Insurance Company involved for these types of settlements. But the way Fry's handled misleading the Court trial by concealing evidence, there may be a BIG problem involving their credibility.
  1.  permalink
    It looks like Fry's did an amazing job again. Got my check today and there was an attached harassment notice. It states how Fry's is against harassment.

    In addition to this pathetic gesture, Fry's should also consider putting flyers on upper management's checks that have information about how Fry's is "against" retaliation.
    • CommentTimeOct 10th 2012
    Karma, baby. Not just on Reddit.
  2.  permalink
    Hahahahaha I cannot believe all you super smart ass Fry's employees haven't figured it out yet. You blame the company, especially management for everything that happens, totally ignoring the fact that you are or were part of the company. Most of you appear from your comments to understand and realize there is something amiss in fantasy land and instead of doing the “right” thing like these two did, you say nothing for fear of losing the sorry assed job you so plainly complain about. You have the unique opportunity to be part of the solution and help fix the problems that you obviously know exist yet you don’t give a crap unless it directly affects you. If you guys had a lick of sense, a tiny bit of respect for yourselves and at least some work ethic, you would pool together your resources and knowledge of perpetrators and their exploit to have them removed. This would do wonders for company moral (yours) and help each other out as people not just employees at Frys. Oh wait that would take a level of mature and sensible thinking, sorry I forgot, according to you own comments here in this forum, 90% of all of Frys employees are halfwits, teenagers, high school drop outs, or just plain don’t give a crap. But you still want your “Fair” share of the American Dream. First you sit in this forum and talk all kinds of crap about your fellow employees whether they are above or below you. You obviously think, that like you, nobody really cares about the company on this message board, that nobody who’s anybody reads it anyways, so you let loose, fire all canons and disrespect supervisors, sales associates and even the owners who have so graciously given you a gainful means of employment and you think nothing of it. You pretend you speak for all and that it’s your right as an American. Free speech and whatever negative bullshit that comes tumbling out of the side of your neck. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you and your lack of work ethic, immature and entitled, poor ass attitude are part of the problem? Obviously not because instead of using this site to create solutions all you read this is whiny assed crybabies that need to grow up and realize that other people besides themselves matter. Professionalism matters, training and quality assurance matters, education, spelling and proper use of the English language matters, and most of all customer services matter! Why do I care? Because I am a customer and I buy quite a bit of product from Frys. I’m the guy that makes your job possible and it frustrates the hell out me to have to deal with the same lazy uncaring attitude from greeters, sales associates, cashiers and supervisors. I was looking for a way to file a formal complaint against a couple of Frys employees but after reading in this forum I now understand how deep rooted the problem really is. It’s all of your faults the organization and your lives are in the condition they are in. There is so much blame to go around but nobody does crap about it. Hopefully you will all grow some pubes and learn the best lesson that money can’t buy, “Wake up Life isn’t fair” you have to create your own destiny and opportunities by preparing yourself for real life, not that fantasy one you think it should be. “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!!” Treat people with genuine respect and do your absolute best at everything that is or will be attributed to you, or has your name on it. No matter if its cleaning toilets or running a corporate office. It’s your life and how you perceive yourself is how you will ultimately live it, are you a winner or a loser? “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t you are right!” Search out and find all the good instead of focusing on the bad. Try courtesy and a smile its contagious and makes your world a better place, or you can continue in your fruitless efforts to completely sabotage your own lives and futures with your negative attitudes. Its heartbreaking and at the same time justified when I witness it first hand and read all of this crap going on, and then on top of that, the majority of you (just read all the comments posted) feel its ok to disrespect the most important part of the whole perpetual organization, "the customers" which by the way is the only reason you even have a job. Their purchases actually pay your wages, just in case you don’t understand or are too ignorant to know how the process actually works. No customers = no jobs! No full time, no part time, no nothing! It’s really that simple. Its easy to blame corporate for everything but I must tell you that most customers are very understanding, if someone would just care enough and take the time to explain to them about mistakes or out of stock items and try your best to get them a backorder or a store pickup somewhere else if its available that would help tremendously. But where are the thinkers the multitaskers the problem solvers? A customer only experiences the oh well, not my turn to care. Shameful and scandalous! So Instead of all of you working together to help build a better company you are all so ready and hellbent to conspire together to run it into the ground, and help bury it. Yea I think if I was the owner of Fry’s I would be handing out raises and bonuses to everyone, just for all the effort you Frys employees put forth “refusing” to find ways of improving performance, for the utmost lackluster ways that you do your jobs and your undying lack of customer support. By taking on a self-centered “entitled attitude” that all of you deserve all kinds of perks, benefits, high commissions and high wages, just because you work the hours and schedules you have accepted. You feel you are entitled to the same benefits the owners of the organization have that ability to enjoy, but you are not even willing to give a customer what "they deserve" the most, which is a satisfactory buying experience. Whether a customer comes in to buy a $.99 cent item or a $10,000-dollar item they deserve to be treated exactly the same. With the utmost respect and dignity, because they have come to buy and spend their hard-earned money, that they too have slaved at their jobs to make! Period. It doesn’t matter if they come in to pay full price, or for a sale item, a closeout or use a promo code, they are still a customer and the store’s only source of income. The better you treat them as they walk through the door the more money they are apt to spend, as the store makes money it will eventually find its way back to the pockets of the employees, by getting more hours, raises and maybe even bonuses for jobs well done. Greeting and approaching customers with a warm smile and a genuine interest in helping them find what they are looking for, opens up the doors to unlimited sales possibilities. But if you are so caught up in your own entitlement issues and can’t separate reality from fantasy you won’t be able to think right and be positive. And then the opportunity disappears and that person that just walked in, you know the one you so quickly "stereo typed" as just another whiny customer that just can’t afford to buy anything of value anyways, or maybe that looks like they are there to steal something, in reality they may have walked in to your store intending to purchase a high dollar item. If you put on your professional panties that morning and helped them, it would give you that nice commission check you so desperately need to pay your bills. But no, you in all your wisdom, know better. You look the other way when they look to you for help, besides they aren’t in my department, so you decide they are not worth your effort. You continue talking to your fellow sales associate and you both decide to pretend you did not see them looking at you. You don’t have to be nice, courteous and helpful to every customer, especially if they don’t know what they looking for right? I mean how dare they get mad at me when they don’t know what they are talking about, they are just plain rude. But because you are better than they are, and at that moment you have forgotten anything about customer service you had ever learned, you were not about to humble yourself so that you could put food on your table. Shit you aren’t even willing to do the job you are being paid to perform, even though when you applied you sat through the whole application process and during the interviews you most likely lied and made promises about how good an employee you would be, you were a people person and great at customer service and how you would be that employee that adds benefit to the company. You signed up for and accepted the responsibility to perform your job duties whatever they required. You needed a job, you had to pay your bills, you wanted to be a positive influence and a good American worker, but because you feel you are entitled to everything you haven’t put any effort into working for, now that hot sale and commission is on its way out the door, heading to another store where someone else who does understand what it means to take pride in their work ethic will take that extra effort and show a little or a lot patience and professionalism, and that associate will end up closing that deal. Everyone will be happy at that store. Because they remember what they are all there for to “WORK”! They put forth their best efforts in everything they put their hearts and minds to do and get rewarded accordingly. But not you guys with your uneducated, ignorant, no tolerance entitled attitude, It your fault the customers are leaving. Its your fault hours are being cut, Its your fault the store is doing badly and you still think you deserve more than you are getting. “IDIOTS!” to the very end! Remember you also a consumer of goods, and a customer at some point whether it’s at a retail store, a drive thru or a fine restaurant, if you are paying money you are helping someone else to have a job. And you too deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If you don’t get the message yet maybe you should go work in the fields picking berries for next to nothing. At least the people that do work in the fields don’t have any misconceptions about reality, they are there to work, to feed their families and pay their bills. And if they work hard enough they may even make the equivalent of minimum wage pay. Then they can go to Fry’s to spend their extremely hard earned dollars, just to have an asshole associate like you guys treat them like shit because its not their job or they don’t make anything off of that sale. “Fry employees” they don’t appreciate or understand how good they really have it. Go suck a big one!
  3.  permalink
    Sir this is a McDonald's drive through.
  4.  permalink
    Lol wall of text by Fry's tool. I hear Randy calling ur bitch ass, think he needs a new island. Surprised you could say all that with his dick so far down ur throat!
      CommentAuthorGuest 4093
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2017
  5.  permalink
    I couldn't read that Masters thesis of a post. Apparently you haven't heard of paragraphs.

    The issue is top down, line associates do what they can to survive. Fry's has an abnormal amount of non educated people at the home office. One buyer in particular barely spoke English that I worked with. There are some great people and highly educated people working for Fry's but they are few and far between.