Former employee at Valley Fair mall claims she was forced to delete co-worker’s request for nude photos

Lauren Hanson alleges one co-worker asked her for nude photos, and another bragged he was fired over sexual harassment.

Feb 18, 2023 - 14:55
Mar 2, 2024 - 09:18
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Former employee at Valley Fair mall claims she was forced to delete co-worker’s request for nude photos
Techatty All-in-1 Publishing
Techatty All-in-1 Publishing

A former employee of high-end Santa Clara department store Bloomingdale’s alleges in a new lawsuit that she was sexually harassed, then forced by a security manager to delete from her phone a co-worker’s request for nude photos.

Lauren Hanson claims the alleged abuses started a few weeks after she began employment in June as a registry supervisor for the store in the upscale Westfield Valley Fair mall, when her supervisor told her she needed a stricter dress code than other workers because she was “drawing attention to herself as a woman.”

Then at a company event in September, a co-worker tried to sit on her and “force himself onto (her) in a sexual manner,” grabbing her wrist when she tried to get away, Hanson alleges.

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Her complaint to a human-resources representative produced no response, she claims in the suit filed Feb. 10 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

In later incidents, a security staffer sent Hanson text messages asking her to send him nude photos of herself, and another security worker bragged to her about getting fired from a previous job for sexual harassment, Hanson alleges.

Bloomingdale’s declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Early in November, seeking to “preserve evidence and document the harassment she suffered in the workplace,” Hanson asked Bloomingdale’s for video footage, she claims. As she was departing from work that day, the store’s security manager stopped her and “would physically not allow her to leave” without going through her phone and making her delete contacts and messages, including the alleged requests from the security staffer for nude photos, Hanson claims.

“(She) left this interaction shaking and scared for her safety,” and reported it to her supervisor, who took no action, she alleges.

Hanson claims she was “constructively terminated” by Bloomingdale’s — a legal term describing an employee leaving a job because an employer’s conduct forces them to resign.

Her lawsuit claims false imprisonment related to the alleged incident with the security manager; battery related to the co-worker’s alleged behavior at the company event; sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination from a “flagrantly hostile” workplace. Hanson is seeking unspecified damages.

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