Employee claims she was sexually harassed by a retail manager and wrongly fired by the company.
Christen Goldstein Shafkowitz, 46, of Philadelphia, has filed a federal lawsuit against Bloomingdale’s, parent company Macy’s, and managing director Roger Blazek alleging that she and other female employees were victims of sexual harassment and assault. Shafkowitz filed her lawsuit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The file states, “Shafkowitz began working at Bloomingdale’s in Willow Grove in 2018, overseeing various departments and scheduling fashion shows.” Before that, she had two decades of retail management experience. In January of that year, she claims, Blazek, 58, became “General Manager of Bloomingdale’s Willow Grove”.
Shafkowitz explains, “Immediately after Blazek arrived at the Willow Grove site, he created a sexually hostile work environment. Blazek commented on the demeanor of women who worked for him, discussed and inquired about personal and intimate matters, and regularly touched and hugged his female subordinates while at work. “
The suit adds, “On February 8, Blazek walked behind her, grabbed her arms, pulled her close, put his nose on her neck and told her that she smelled amazing.” Another woman Shafkowitz was working with entered the area and stopped him. Shortly afterwards, however, she climbed an escalator behind Blazek, “which grabbed her chest”. According to the suit, she was “stunned, humiliated, horrified and afraid”.
Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash
The next day, February 9, Shafkowitz had a meeting with Blazek in his office. When she arrived she “purposely left the door open and sat at a table while he sat behind his desk.” But according to the suit, “Blazek closed the door and pulled up a seat right next to her.” The focus of the meeting was on the lingerie department, which Shafkowitz was overseeing, and he wanted to know “which lingerie she thought was sexy and whether women her age wore lingerie”. Blazek even commented, “I don’t see women in the mall who look like you at your age.”
Over the next few days, Shafkowitz and Blazek closed the store together and he asked her another inappropriate question that prompted her to file a complaint with the company’s human resources department. However, their efforts did not pay off.
The lawsuit states: “The investigator began asking the plaintiff what she (the victim) might have done to provoke Blazek’s sexual harassment and wrongdoing. For example, the investigator asked the plaintiff what she was wearing when Blazek grabbed her chest. Based on information and beliefs, other employees interviewed as part of the investigation were also asked how the applicant dressed and what she may have done to invite the harassment and attack. “
Shortly after Shafkowitz reported the incidents, the store closed due to the pandemic. When it reopened, their position was eliminated. Believing she has falsely lost her position, Shafkowitz claims, “Blazek’s wife and senior male executives and managers who worked closely with Blazek in his previous corporate roles protected Blazek and inappropriately disrupted the“ investigation ”in order to safeguard Blazek’s employment receive. ”
In September of that year, Macy’s settled a class action lawsuit over its hiring practices and background checking policies and paid out $ 1.8 million. The complaint alleged that the retailer failed to provide its employees with the results of their background checks, even if those results led to the termination. Ironically, subordinates lost their jobs while executives like Blazek allegedly committed wrongdoing.
This woman claims she was sexually assaulted by her boss at Willow Grove Bloomingdale
Macy’s is due to resolve class action lawsuit over background screening policies for $ 1.8 million