Sacramento, CA (Law Firm Newswire) June 12, 2015 - A former director of Research and Development for Quality Systems in Irvine, filed a lawsuit alleging retaliatory firing and sexual harassment.
According to the statement of claim filed by the plaintiff, Traci Wolbert, she experienced sexual harassment from Steve Puckett, the Chief Technical Officer and Executive Vice President to whom she reported to during the course of her employment at Quality Systems (a NEXGEN Heathcare subsidiary). “In response to her repeated refusals to participate in a relationship with the man, she was allegedly fired,” outlined Sacramento, Calif. employment attorney, Deborah Barron, not involved in the case.
Wolbert’s work reviews had, throughout her years of employment, been outstanding. She performed above and beyond expectations, was continually awarded raises and promoted. In 2013, she came under the supervision of Steve Puckett. Puckett offered her a Director position, stating he was impressed with her work. Wolbert accepted the promotion and thus ended up reporting directly to Puckett. Until she filed a sexual harassment complaint, Puckett lauded her accomplishments on-the-job.
Shortly after Wolbert joined Puckett’s team, he began making inappropriate suggestions and demands, insisting that she travel with him to various world locations and stay with him on non-work related trips. Wolbert declined, indicating she was involved with her boyfriend and had no interest in having a relationship with Puckett. Nevertheless, Puckett continued his advances vigorously. The various demands and continued pressure on Wolbert created a hostile work environment.
Wolbert and Puckett did travel to company functions on business and while on those trips, Puckett acted inappropriately towards her in front of other staff, leading them to believe they were somehow involved with one another. Wolbert was pressured by Puckett to relocate to Irvine under the impression that her relocation was a condition of keeping her job. Puckett withheld her bonus checks while discussing her move to Irvine.
As the situation continued to escalate, Wolbert reported her concerns to the Human Resources Department, leading to subsequent demotion and then firing. The statement of claim further alleges that Quality Systems has a repeated pattern of protecting male workers who harass and discriminate against women. (Case No. 8:15-cv-550. U.S. District Court, Central District of California - Southern Division)
“On the face of this complaint, should the facts be verified in court, Ms. Wolbert stands a good chance of winning her lawsuit. An authority figure in a position to fire her allegedly sexually harassed her and on rejection, used that power to first threaten her job and then subsequently engineered her demotion and eventual firing,” said Barron. “If you are being sexually harassed at work, my door is open to discuss how I may be of service to you.” Cases such as this one need to be discussed with an experienced employment attorney.
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