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A Bad Day at Work for Discrimination

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Chicago, ILAttorney Robb Stokar does a lot of workplace discrimination cases in his Chicago practice and he is never really very surprised by the kinds of things people endure. "People come to me with their workplace complaints on a daily basis," says Stokar. "There are daily workplace transgressions in this country. Some are reported and others are not."

Yaffa Washington reported several "workplace transgressions," and as Stokar explains in a 12-page discrimination and retaliation suit filed against a Chicago hospital, she ended up losing her job. Her suit alleges that her employers are in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that a co-worker is guilty of assault and battery.

Washington was the only black Jewish American working in the Evanston Hospital cafeteria. During her five years at the hospital, Washington complained on several occasions to her employers (Aramark Management and the Evanston Hospital) that was the target of racial slurs and had even been physically assaulted by a co-worker.

"Ms Washington, from what she told me, was significantly affected by this," says Stokar. "This was a significant event in her life and she was very shaken."

According to the documents, 39-year-old Washington was referred to as "the Jew girl," "a bitch," "a nigger" and several other anti-Semitic and racial slurs that humiliated and demeaned her. She was accused of "not believing in God," and one occasion a co-worker grabbed Washington and pushed her.

Another of Washington's co-workers, apparently out of concern, confirmed to management Washington was being harassed on a regular basis. Still nothing from changed.

In total the suit seeks close to $1 million in compensatory damages for Yaffa Washington from Aramark and the Evanston Hospital. It also names the co-worker who alleged assaulted Washington and seeks $150,000 in damages from that individual.

"I always say no one comes into my office because they've had a good day," says Stokar. "We get a variety of these kinds of cases from both government and private workplaces.

"I like to see the little guy win. And when we help people that are defenseless and have no recourse, you get a good feeling."

The defendants have yet to respond to the allegations.

Robb Stokar is an attorney with the Law Offices of Joshua N. Karmel in Chicago. A graduate of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, he specializes in representing people who had been unjustly treated in the workplace.

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