A former human resources manager for a tax debt relief company is suing the firm, alleging she was wrongfully fired in 2020 for protesting the lack of safety protocol during the coronavirus and because she complained an employee’s sexual harassment complaint was being ignored.
Tra’Shon Fant’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against American Tax Solutions alleges wrongful termination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, negligent hiring, supervision and retention and a violation of the state’s Business and Professions Code.
Fant seeks at least $100,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages in the suit brought Thursday. An ATS representative could not be immediately reached.
Fant was hired as a mailroom clerk and processor in August 2019 and was promoted to mailroom manager in February 2020, the suit states. Three months later, she was elevated to human resources manager, overseeing about 150 workers in two locations, according to the suit.
Until she was fired, Fant was responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing the company’s coronavirus policies and procedures, making sure they complied with CDC guidelines for social distancing, wearing masks, and cleaning and sanitizing, the suit states.
“These duties were especially important given the fact ATS required all its employees to continue working from the office during the pandemic,” the suit states.
Fant repeatedly complained to management that the company was not adhering to CDC guidelines and she suggested alternate ways to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including allowing some employees to work from home, according to the suit.
In response, Fant was yelled at and berated and prevented from implementing any COVID-19 precautions, the suit alleges.
Last August, a woman complained to Fant that she was being sexually harassed on the job, the suit states. However, when Fant notified management and sought advice in dealing with the alleged harasser, she was met with hostility and retaliation and the woman’s allegations were downplayed as a “sham complaint,” the suit states.
When Fant persisted in asking that something be done about the sexual harassment complaint, she was fired last September, according to the suit.
Management told Fant her position was eliminated, but the plaintiff believes that the real reasons were her complaints about coronavirus workplace safety and her insistence that the sexual harassment claim be investigated, according to the suit.
Fant has suffered emotional distress and financial losses and expects to have ongoing difficulty in getting a new job, the suit states.