Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) July 23, 2013
Two former female employees of Nacional Records have filed a lawsuit against the company and its owner/founder, Tomas Cookman, alleging that he sexually harassed them and also created a sexually hostile work environment for other women. The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court and assigned case number BC516053. The filing was announced today by Andrew H. Friedman, of the Los Angeles law firm of Helmer Friedman, LLP, who represents the two former employees.
The lawsuit alleges that Cookman created a sexually hostile work environment for his female employees by, among other things, regularly leering at them from head-to-toe focusing on their breasts and buttocks, making sexual remarks about their clothing and their bodies and what he thought (or hoped) they would be like in bed, touching (or trying to touch) them in inappropriate sexual ways, making comments about sex and sex toys, openly displaying a pornographic video in his office, trying to have sex with them, trying to intimidate them by brandishing a machete or a knife when speaking to them, and openly referring to women by derogatory gender-based names (such as “b****”).
The lawsuit alleges that hoping to have sex with her, he invited a female employee out for drinks while his wife was out of town, and told her that she should spend the night at a vacant apartment in a building he owned across the street from the office. Unsurprisingly, this apartment was also right next door to his own house.
The complaint alleges that upon one female employee's return from having breast implant surgery, he asked her if he could feel her breasts.
When Cookman noticed that a female employee got a new tattoo, the lawsuit alleges that he told her he thought the tattoo was “unusual” and informed her, “you're a really bad girl” and “I would totally bend you over, pull your pants down and spank you.”
One of the plaintiffs, Claudia Becerra, alleged in the lawsuit, that Cookman engaged in the following alleged sexually harassing conduct toward her: Cookman flirted with her and otherwise made it clear that he wanted to have sex with her; Cookman stared at her body in an inappropriately sexual manner and made sexually inappropriate comments about her body – for example, Cookman informed her, “For a Latina, you have a small a**.”
The lawsuit alleges that Cookman emailed Becerra a very sexually-explicit song and told her to listen to it. The song’s title was Vente En Mi Boca, which translated meant, “C*** in my mouth.”
The complaint alleges that Cookman asked Becerra to make a guide outlining the duties of her position. When she responded that her predecessor had made a guide, Cookman retorted, “Why would I continue f****** a woman with no t*** who doesn't know how to f***, when I can find one that has big t*** and knows how to do it right?”
The other plaintiff, Montse Perez, alleged in the lawsuit, that Cookman also engaged in the following alleged inappropriate and sexually harassing conduct toward her: Cookman stared at her look her up and down, and made it clear that he wanted to have sex with her; on one occasion while leering at her from head to toe, stated “At least your boobs are nice;” and on another occasion, he tried to hold her hands, telling her that he wanted to check her nail polish.
The lawsuit alleges that Cookman emailed Perez an explicit photograph of a naked man performing oral sex on a fully naked woman.
The complaint alleges that Cookman told Perez that her shirt reminded him the uniforms of concentration camps, but then added, “if people in concentration camps were as cute as you, then they would probably not have died.”
The lawsuit alleges that Cookman discussed the use of “a*** beads” with Perez.
After asking her to perform an administrative task, the lawsuit alleges that Cookman informed Perez, “If you don’t do this, I’m going to spank you . . . But don’t sue me.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Cookman made frequent derogatory references to gay sex and the gay artists represented by Nacional Records. For instance, whenever the Company’s artist, Alex Anwandper, was mentioned, Cookman would make derisive comments about the gay sex practices in which Cookman speculated Mr. Anwandper engaged, “I just don’t understand having anything shoved up your a**.”
Commenting about these allegations, one of the attorneys for Ms. Perez and Ms. Becerra, Courtney Abrams of Helmer • Friedman, LLP, said, “California law prohibits employers and their executives from creating and fostering sexually hostile work environments. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about unlawful conduct at work.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Cookman used unpaid “interns” to enrich himself and gain an unfair advantage over competitors who comply with wage and hour laws.
Based in North Hollywood, California, the lawsuit alleges, Nacional Records is an independent Latin American record label distributed by RED/Sony Music Entertainment, which develops and licenses Latin American musical talent. Nacional Records represents artists such as Manu Chao, Grammy-nominated Mexican electronica group Nortec Collective, Colombian rock group Aterciopelados, Argentinean rock group Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Band Tom Tom Club and French-Chilean hip-hop artist Ana Tijoux, among many other well known artists.
Citing the difficulty of challenging wealthy individuals and corporations, Andrew H. Friedman, of Helmer Friedman LLP, asked that witnesses to Cookman’s alleged conduct contact his law firm to help Ms. Becerra and Ms. Perez prove their allegations, “It takes courage for anyone to step forward and challenge the conduct of their employers and we hope that any witnesses to Mr. Cookman’s alleged conduct will contact our office and provide information and testimony to help these brave young women.”
Helmer Friedman LLP provides legal representation and advice in a wide range of areas, including employment, consumer rights, sports, and entertainment. Andrew H. Friedman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Courtney Abrams (email@example.com) can be reached at 310-396-7714.