LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former sales associate at Ross Dress for Less Inc. who sued the clothing store chain alleging she was repeatedly called “stupid,'' “worthless'' and a “dog'' by co-workers because of her limited English-speaking proficiency has agreed to arbitrate her claims.
In her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed July 21, Ines Angel Lopez also maintained she was fired in 2020 in retaliation for complaining about her treatment. Her allegations included natural origin harassment and discrimination, retaliation, assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit sought unspecified damages.
However, on Sept. 21, Ross lawyers filed a motion to compel arbitration. They argued in their court papers that when she was hired in February 2018, Lopez signed a “dispute resolution agreement'' in which she agreed to have any employment disputes resolved in arbitration rather than before a judge or jury.
Lopez's lawyers initially opposed the motion, but later agreed to have Lopez's claims initially brought before a mediator paid for by Ross, then proceed with them to arbitration if mediation fails, according to the Ross attorneys' court papers.
On Thursday, Judge Terry Green approved the agreement between the parties and set a post-arbitration status conference for Sept. 28.
Lopez began at Ross as a sales associate and was a “hard-working and dedicated employee,'' the suit states. The Mexican national's primary language is Spanish and she does not speak English proficiently, according to the suit, which does not identify the store location where she worked.
While at Ross, Lopez alleges she “incurred a wrath of abuse, harassment, violence and retaliation'' from five co-workers. The quintet regularly “mocked, bullied, intimidated, ridiculed, put down, insulted and harassed'' Lopez because she did not speak English well, according to her suit.
Some of the co-workers regularly called Lopez “stupid,'' “worthless,'' and a “dog'' because of her language deficiencies, the suit states. Some of them also kicked and punched Lopez, pulled her hair, threw clothing at her, pushed boxes against her and shoved clothing racks at her, the suit alleges.
Ross management knew what Lopez's co-workers allegedly were doing to her, but did nothing to stop their behavior even though the plaintiff complained for nearly a year beginning in March 2019, according to the suit.
Ross fired Lopez last Feb. 19 and she believes she lost her job for complaining about how her co-workers were treating her, according to her court papers.
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