Bell v. Bank of America

Discrimination Harassment Retaliation

Hunter Pyle Law is proud to represent Donna Bell with respect to her former employment with Bank of America (“B of A”).

Ms. Bell, a 67 year old woman, was a faithful, hardworking employee of B of A for 39 years.  Prior to 2014, she consistently received positive performance reviews, raises and promotions.  For example, by the end of 2013, Ms. Bell had achieved one hundred and forty percent (140%) of her goals for that year.  Other than in 2014 and 2015, Ms. Bell regularly received annual bonuses based on her performance.

Ms. Bell’s last job at B of A was as a Senior Personal Banker (“SPB”).  In that capacity, her job duties consisted of trying to get existing B of A customers to purchase additional financial services from B of A.  She worked at the College Avenue location in Oakland.

In mid-2014, Ms. Bell missed some time from work due to sickness, stress, and a recent family death.  As a result, her sales fell.  Ms. Bell was able to improve her sales significantly by August 2014.  Nevertheless, Eunice Hong McLaughlin, the new Consumer Market Manager (“CMM”) who oversaw the College Avenue branch, warned Ms. Bell that her sales were unacceptable.  Ms. Hong also threatened to fire Ms. Bell.

Additionally, Ruben Baez-Esqueda, Ms. Bell’s manager, began to ask Ms. Bell when she was going to retire.  Ms. Bell was then instructed to train a woman who appeared to be 30 years younger to take her place.

Ms. Bell believed that she was being unlawfully discriminated against and harassed and sought assistance from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”).  Ms. Bell filed a claim with the DFEH on September 14, 2014, for discrimination, harassment and retaliation.  The DFEH sent her a Right-to-Sue letter on November 7, 2014.  The DFEH provided Ms. McLaughlin notice of Ms. Bell’s Right-to-Sue.  It is undisputed that Ms. McLaughlin received notice of Ms. Bell’s complaint and knew about that complaint at the time that she decided to fire Ms. Bell.

Ms. Bell’s sales were up and down in late 2014 and into 2015.  However, it is undisputed that her sales improved dramatically in July and August 2015.

Nevertheless, on August 28, 2015, Ms. McLaughlin told Ms. Bell, “Your sales have been good this quarter, but not good enough.  You have 30 minutes to decide if you want to resign or be terminated.”  Ms. Bell was forbidden from making a phone call or consulting with any third party.  When Ms. Bell refused to resign, Ms. McLaughlin terminated her.

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