Bias Complaint Against Williams Mullen Alleges Cucumber Prank
Posted Nov 12, 2009 10:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A former case manager for the Richmond, Va.-based Williams Mullen law firm has filed a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint that claims she was subjected to derogatory remarks and a prank involving a cucumber.
The 18-year employee, Hanh Nguyen Allgood, seeks $950,000 in the federal suit filed in Norfolk, Va., Style Weekly reports. Above the Law also covered the story and posted a copy of the complaint (PDF).
Allgood, who is Vietnamese, alleges that partner Douglas Nabhan joked about the food she cooked, telling others that the dog and cat population would drop when Allgood prepared her meals. She claimed another partner, Robert Eicher, bragged of sexual encounters, made ethnic slurs and subjected her to a cucumber prank. Eicher chaired the Virginia State Bar’s Disciplinary Board, according to his law firm profile.
According to the complaint, Eicher and Allgood were both on an elevator when Eicher pretended to be depressed and asked for a hug. She agreed, and noticed something hard against her thigh. “Allgood was horrified,” the suit says. “She pushed him away and stepped back. In response, Eicher laughed and pulled a cucumber out of his pants pocket.” Other employees later told Allgood that they were victims of the “cucumber incident,” the suit says.
Williams Mullen released this statement about Allgood’s suit to Above the Law: “The EEOC has dismissed her discrimination claim yet she has pursued this course of action. Williams Mullen is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, anti-harassment, and equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment. The firm condemns discrimination and harassment in any form in the workplace and recognizes its duty to provide all employees with an environment free from such conduct.”