Best Buy Co. – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Sex Discrimination.

Best Buy Co. – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Sex Discrimination.

Equal employment opportunity commissionIN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN
AND FOR BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA

CHERYL MEDINA,

Plaintiff,

v.
BEST BUY CO. OF MINNESOTA INC.,

Defendant.
______________________ /

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff, CHERYL MEDINA, (hereinafter “Medina”) by and through her undersigned counsel, sues Defendant, BEST BUY CO. OF MINNESOTA INC., (Hereinafter “Best Buy”) and alleges as follows:
1. This is an action for damages that exceed $15,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney’s fees.
2. This is an action for sex discrimination pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-2 et. seq.
3. The unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed within Brevard County, Florida.
4. Plaintiff resides in Brevard County, Florida, and has at all times material herein, resided in Brevard County, Florida.
5. Defendant, BEST BUY CO. OF MINNESOTA INC., is a foreign corporation registered in the state of Minnesota doing business in Brevard County, Florida and at the time of the acts complained of herein employed 15 or more persons.
6. Plaintiff was employed with the Defendant, Best Buy Co. of Minnesota Inc., from February 28, 1999 until her termination on April 24, 2003.
7. Plaintiff, a female, was the subject of sex discrimination by Defendant.
8. Plaintiff has retained the undersigned attorney and agreed to pay a
reasonable fee.
9. On or about August 8, 2003 Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sex discrimination which is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”.
10. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a Notice of Right to Sue to Plaintiff on October 31, 2003, which is attached as Exhibit “B”.
11. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
12. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
13. At all times, Plaintiff performed all of the duties assigned to her in a professionally competent manner, faithfully followed all reasonable instructions given to her by her supervisors, and abided by all the rules and regulations of Defendant.
14. Plaintiff, was employed as the General Manager of Defendant’s Best Buy store in Melbourne, Florida for approximately four (4) years until her discriminatory termination, which was based on her sex.
15. On April 24, 2003, in violation of Title VII, the Defendant Best Buy terminated Plaintiff, Medina, because of her sex contrary to 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-2.
16. Plaintiff’s discharge came after she was told she was terminated for an alleged lack of judgment for marking down open box products, which are products that have been returned or are out of the box, to 50% for customers as well as store employees to be able to purchase them.
17. Open box product markdowns are within a manager’s discretion and Plaintiff had recently been instructed by her supervisors to mark down open box products to keep the stock moving.
18. Usually sales of open box products are evenly distributed throughout the month. However, since Plaintiff, Medina had been out of the store for two weeks, she was unable to authorize the reduction in price on open box merchandise until she returned from a week of vacation and a week long managers’ meeting.
19. On or about April 13, 2003, Plaintiff Medina informed the store employees that they were allowed to purchase the reduced open box products with approval by any manager within the store. The store was below budget that day because a large amount of the marked down merchandise was sold.
20. On or about April 14, 2003, Plaintiff called the Defendant’s District Office to inform them that there would be a large budget variance due to the fifty percent (50%) reduction on open box products.
21. On or about April 21, 2003, Plaintiff was suspended pending an investigation. Plaintiff was terminated on April 24, 2003. Plaintiff was replaced as General Manager by a male.
22. There were eleven (11) store managers in the District that Plaintiff worked and only two (2) store managers were women. A number of the male store managers and other male managers committed policy violations, which were much more serious than the incident regarding an alleged lack of judgement that Plaintiff’s termination was supposedly based on. However, the male managers were not terminated for committing policy violations. The male managers who committed substantial policy violations in a few cases were suspended and then put back in their positions and in other cases male managers were rewarded with promotions for improper activities.
23. One male store manager was found to have a large amount of merchandise that went through the register at $0.01 with his authorization to cover up shrink or loss of inventory. He was initially suspended by Defendant but was later promoted to a higher position.
24. Another male store manager was reprimanded for performance issues and mishandling funds. He was then promoted to a district wide position.
25. A number of male store managers were also significantly over budget for allowable inventory losses, which far exceeded the loss the Defendant is claiming Plaintiff was terminated for and the male store managers were not terminated. The store that Plaintiff managed was consistently under budget for allowable inventory loss.
26. Another male manager improperly instructed cashiers to add the cost of a Product Replacement Plan (PRP) to the sale and if the customer caught it, the cashier was to try to persuade them to purchase it and if the customer did not want the PRP, then the cashier was to send the customer to the refund counter. The male manager was eventually promoted to a position in a higher volume store.
27. Plaintiff was told by a male district staff member that, “Best Buy is a boys club.” Another male district staff member told Plaintiff that she should become a lesbian so she would fit in better with the other male managers.
28. The sexual discrimination Plaintiff experienced while employed by the Defendant, culminated in the wrongful termination of Plaintiff on April 24, 2003.
29. Plaintiff, Medina, has suffered and continues to suffer grave and severe damage to her financial welfare, her employment prospects, her reputation in the community in which she lives and among her professional peers and to her psychological and physical health by reason of Defendant, Best Buy’s discriminatory actions against Plaintiff.
30. Defendant, Best Buy willfully, knowingly, and intentionally discriminated against Plaintiff, on the basis of her sex.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant Best Buy as follows:
A. An order requiring Defendant Best Buy to reinstate Plaintiff, effective April 24, 2003 requiring that all of Defendant Best Buy’s
company records be corrected to reflect no break in service of Plaintiff’s employment with Defendant Best Buy or in the alternative, an award of front pay damages representing all the sums of money Plaintiff would have earned in the future, had she not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. An award for back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiff would have earned, together with such increases to which she would be entitled, had she not been discriminatorily discharged, including loss of stock options, loss of retirement benefits and interest thereon;
C. An award for expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and reinstatement of vacation entitlement.
D. Compensatory damages including, but not limited to, mental anguish, loss of dignity and other intangible injuries;
E. Punitive damages;
F. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
G. Such other and further relief as the Court deems proper.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for entry of judgment in this action awarding her damages, punitive damages and her attorney’s fees and costs in this action.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.
DATED this _________ day of January, 2004.

________________________
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
Wayne L. Allen & Associates, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681