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PEREIRA v. SCHLAGE ELECS.

August 10, 1995

TUNG PEREIRA, Plaintiff,
v.
SCHLAGE ELECTRONICS, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAMS

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT SCHLAGE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 Plaintiff Tung Pereira ("Pereira") brought this action against her employer, Defendant Schlage Electronics ("Schlage"), and several of her co-workers, alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her sex in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and California Gov't Code § 12940. Currently before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment.

 BACKGROUND

 Pereira began working for Schlage in 1988 as a temporary employee in the printed circuit board "quality assurance" department. After approximately six months, she was given regular employment and transferred to the production test department. In both her 1988 and 1989 performance reviews, Pereira received a performance rating of "commendable" overall, the second highest possible rating out of five.

 Pereira alleges that throughout her employment at Schlage three of her co-workers, Ban "Tony" Nguyen, Dung Tran and Sum Diep, harassed her with abusive, vulgar and offensive language spoken in Vietnamese. Initially, Pereira did not complain about the language because she only had to work directly with these three individuals on sporadic occasions.

 However, in mid-1990, the departments in which Pereira and her alleged harassers worked were consolidated. Because Pereira could not stand the constant foul and abusive language on an everyday basis, she alleges that she complained to her supervisor, Bob Stanley, on August 28, 1990. According to Pereira, Stanley responded that unless the offensive language was spoken in English there was nothing he could do about it.

 The same day that Pereira complained to Stanley, he allegedly gave her a difficult job assignment that was outside of her job duties. According to Pereira, Stanley ordered her to tear open a plastic sealed sensor box with her bare hands. When she could not do it, she invited Stanley to try himself; he failed as well. Stanley denies that he ever met with Pereira during August or that he gave her an inappropriate work assignment.

 Two days later, on August 30, 1990, Stanley gave Pereira a verbal warning for not performing her job duties adequately. He also allegedly accused Pereira of being drunk and drugged on the job. Stanley followed up with a written warning on August 31, 1990, and then a poor performance evaluation in October of 1990 in which Pereira's performance rating dropped three levels to "satisfactory growth," the second lowest possible.

 From the end of August until December, Pereira made no further complaints and simply ignored her co-worker's language. However, on December 8, 1990, Pereira claims that Ban Ngyuen and Dung Tran made particularly offensive comments about shopping for prostitutes. Ban Ngyuen allegedly said that he wanted to go to San Francisco and find "a tall lady, skinny, who was no fun, and had no boobs or nothing" who he would pay to have sex with him. The following Monday, December 12, 1990, these same men referred to Pereira as "the tall lady" and the "tiny, skinny lady." Ban Ngyuen also allegedly talked about wanting to have sex with Pereira, and asked her to go to bed with him.

 Later that day, Pereira again complained to a supervisor, Kathy Jaramillo, about her co-workers' conduct. Jaramillo said that she would look into the problem.

 The next day, Pereira alleges that Tran and Ban confronted her and angrily threatened to kill her and her family if she continued to complain about their language. According to Pereira, the men said they would burn down her house and that they would kidnap her and leave her "in a Black neighborhood so people can rape and kill [her]." Tran also allegedly tried to intimidate Pereira by bragging about his previous time in jail and saying that he was not afraid to go back.

 Pereira immediately filed a report with the Santa Clara County Police Department regarding these threats. Pereira also wrote two memos to Schlage's head of human relations, Judy Miller, on December 14, 1990 and February 14, 1991, about the threats and continued foul language. According to Pereira, her co-workers' language did not abate.

 Pereira alleges that Schlage also damaged her relationships with her co-workers by falsely accusing her of stealing tools, taking work away from co-workers, and "a variety of other false and petty offenses." Schlage asserts that Pereira's problems with her co-workers resulted from her own difficult personality and her refusal to abide by company rules. In any case, when Pereira met with Kathy Jaramillo on March 11, 1991 to discuss these problems, Jaramillo allegedly told her that she was "crazy", that no one at the company believed anything she said, and that she should find work elsewhere.

 Pereira filed a complaint with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs ("OFCCP") on March 14, 1991. That same day, Schlage placed Pereira on disciplinary probation. Thereafter, on April 11, 1991, Pereira filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

 On June 21, 1991, Schlage's head of human relations, Jo Ann Balesano, called Pereira into her office and informed her that her employment was terminated for "misconduct."

 Pereira filed another complaint with the EEOC on July 2, 1991. Ultimately, on April 15, 1993, the EEOC found that "there is reasonable cause to infer that [Pereira] and other female employees were subjected to sexual harassment and a discriminatory work environment in violation of Title VII." The EEOC also determined that "there is reasonable cause to believe that [Pereira] and other female employees [at Schlage] who complain about sexual harassment are subjected to retaliation in violation of Title VII." Finally, the EEOC stated that "there is reasonable cause to believe that [Schlage] retaliated against [Pereira] in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . . when it discharged [Pereira]."

 Pereira filed suit in this Court on July 19, 1993. She alleges sexual discrimination and retaliatory discharge under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq. and California Gov't Code § 12940. She requests a jury trial and seeks compensatory damages for emotional distress and lost wages and benefits, equitable relief in ...


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