September 27, 2021 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Trader Joe’s Sued by Former Employee Re: Christmas Party Gift Complaint

Trader Joe’s is being sued by a former employee, who says he was fired for complaining about being given a gift resembling a male sex organ during a 2014 store Christmas party.

Paul D. Roberts’ Los Angeles Superior Court complaint alleges wrongful termination, sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment, retaliation and negligence. He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

A spokeswoman for Monrovia-based Trader Joe’s did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

According to the complaint filed Tuesday, Roberts was hired as a crew member at the Trader Joe’s store on Lake Avenue in February 2007. In December 2014, a company Christmas party gift exchange was held and crew member attendance “was expected and implicitly required,” the suit states.

The party occurred on a day Roberts was not scheduled to work, but he says he felt compelled to attend to maintain a good relationship with co- workers and supervisors.

After Roberts arrived at the party, co-workers seemed “excited” about his arrival and anxious for him to open his gift, which was given to him by co- worker Armina Asefvasziri, according to his court papers.

“Plaintiff opened the wrapped package and was shocked, embarrassed and humiliated to discover that the gift was a small penis with testicles which, when submerged in water, would increase in size,” the complaint says. “Mr. Roberts was incredibly distraught in receiving such an obnoxious and offensive item, particularly in front of his supervisor and having received it from a female.”

Roberts says he left the party feeling “humiliated and embarrassed.” He filed an internal complaint and told supervisors that if he had given a similar gift to a female co-worker, he likely would have been reprimanded or fired, according to his court papers.

Roberts felt one of the bosses was nonchalant and did not take him seriously, and claims the same supervisor later interrogated him about false accusations Asefvasziri allegedly made about the plaintiff.

Meanwhile, Asefvasziri approached him four days after the party and teased him about his reaction to the gift, according to the suit.

A human resources staff member told Roberts in January 2015 that his complaint was being investigated, but he was fired two days later, according to his court papers.

Related Posts

Recall Bonin Leader’s Home Vandalized After Address Posted on Twitter

September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

LAPD investigating September 16 incident By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Katrina Schmitt, one of the leaders of the Recall...

Pair Charged With Hate Crime For Attack Outside Beverly Grove Sushi Restaurant

September 21, 2021

September 21, 2021

Two men were charged today for an assault outside a sushi restaurant earlier this year By Chad Winthrop Two men...

Is Cash Coming Back for the Big Blue Bus?

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Santa Monica City Council discusses possibility of restoring cash service for buses  By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers recently discussed...

Inglewood Man Arrested for Playa Del Rey Hit-and-Run That Killed Mother Cradling 3-Year-Old Killed

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

Darwin Dantzler, 39, arrested Wednesday By Sam Catanzaro An Inglewood man was arrested this week in connection to a Playa...

UCLA Study Suggests Nearly Half of LGBT Renters Behind on Rent Fear Eviction Within 2 Months

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

UCLA study sheds light on concerning issue  By Susan Payne According to a recent UCLA study, nearly half of the...

Man Arrested for Shooting at Family’s Vehicle Following Mar Vista Collision

September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021

LAPD arrest Victor Manuel Espino By Sam Catanzaro Police have arrested a man for shooting at a family following a...

Culver City High School’s Vanessa Andrick Named National Merit Semifinalist

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

Submitted by the Culver City Unified School District This week, officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced that Culver...

Westside Man Pleads Guilty to Gambling Away Fraudulently-Obtained COVID-Relief Loans

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

Andrew Marnell pleads guilty to one count of bank fraud  By Chad Winthrop A West Los Angeles man pleaded guilty...

Vaccine and Mask Mandates for Santa Monica College In-Person Classes this Fall

September 14, 2021

September 14, 2021

As Santa Monica College returns for the fall semester new protocols are in place, learn about campus capacity, vaccine and...

Mother Cradling 3-Year-Old Killed in Playa Del Rey Hit-and-Run

September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

LAPD searching for suspect in connection to Saturday night incident By Sam Catanzaro Police are searching for a suspect wanted...

Police Searching for Suspect in Daylight Multi-Stabbing

September 13, 2021

September 13, 2021

Multiple victims in Saturday stabbings near Culver City By Chad Winthrop Police are searching for a suspect wanted for stabbing...

Culver City Crisis Negotiators Called to De-escalate After Man Floods Trader Joe’s Restroom

September 10, 2021

September 10, 2021

Culver City Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team handles September 7 incident By Sam Catanzaro Crisis negotiators responded to a Culver...

Westsider Sentenced to Federal Prison for Running Massive Telemarketing Scheme that Targeted Charities

September 8, 2021

September 8, 2021

A West Los Angeles man was sentenced last week to 48 months in federal prison – plus an additional 28...

CCHS Class of ’64, Operation USA Donate 250,000 Face Masks to CCUSD

September 8, 2021

September 8, 2021

Culver City Unified School District Richard Walden was watching television when news of the CCUSD vaccination mandate was making news...