A lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination has been filed against Fruitti Yogi by Bay Area sexual harassment attorneys at The Armstrong Law Firm in San Francisco, California on behalf of their client, Elena Shchukina.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, September 27, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ — A lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination has been filed against Fruitti Yogi by Bay Area sexual harassment attorneys at The Armstrong Law Firm in San Francisco, California on behalf of their client, Elena Shchukina. Ms. Shchukina began working at Fruitti Yogi as part of a requirement for her Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa. This type of Visa allows foreign nationals to come to the United States for exchange-student-work programs. Due to Fruitti Yogi’s harassment, Ms. Shchukina suffered emotional distress and financial hardship.
In the lawsuit, Ms. Shchukina claims that during a meeting to discuss her position and work schedule with Fruitti Yogi’s owner, Calvin Ng, Mr. Ng had her sit in his office while he circled around her, making her uncomfortable. Mr. Ng then pretended to be a drunken customer and proceeded to caress Ms. Shchukina’s face in a sexual manner. He then grabbed her breast, asking Ms. Shchukina what she would do if a drunken customer grabbed her breast as he was doing. Shocked at his behavior, Ms. Shchukina asked him why he was grabbing her breast. Ms. Shchukina had prearranged to work for Mr. Ng before she travelled from Russia to California. Once she arrived, she was left little choice but to work for Mr. Ng in order to be able to pay her rent and survive.
Fruitti Yogi also made misrepresentations to Ms. Shchukina by promising her a minimum of 30 hours a week at a rate of $8 an hour. However, during the first week Ms. Shchukina worked there, she was given substantially less hours that she was promised, which threatened her: (1) ability to keep a roof over her head and food on her table and (2) work visa program status. Ms. Shchukina was never given the work hours she was promised by Mr. Ng during her employment.
After two weeks of employment, Fruitti Yogi only paid her $150. During a meeting with Mr. Ng threatened to fire Ms. Shchukina, but told her that she could keep her job if she showed him her breasts. When Ms. Shchukina refused, Mr. Ng fired her and did not pay her the rest of her earned wages.
Ms. Shchukina has experienced negative psychological symptoms and emotional distress as a result of the sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Additionally, she is fearful and uncertain of her economic future and ability to remain in the United States since she has been terminated and has been unable to find another job to satisfy her international exchange-student-work program requirement. Unacceptably, young foreign women are often taken advantage of in work situations governed by Visa requirements, and Ms. Shchukina’s case is not an uncommon one.
If you have experienced similar treatment at work, such as harassment, discrimination or wrongful termination, it is important to speak with an employment law attorney. To contact the Armstrong Law Firm, please visit https://www.thearmstronglawfirm.com or call Kelly Armstrong at (415) 909-3945.
About The Armstrong Law Firm
The Armstrong Law Firm practices exclusively in the area of employment law and handles all types of employment law matters including sexual discrimination and racial discrimination as well as discrimination based on age, religion, and disability. Our lawyers stand up for persons who face abusive workplace conditions such as sexual harassment, racial harassment and workplace retaliation. The Armstrong Law Firm has handled several cases which received widespread exposure in the media, including a $20 million whistleblower case and a $75 million age discrimination lawsuit.