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Employment

Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO

Three former employees of Movaz Networks Inc. say they were verbally abused, discriminated against, and sexually harassed by the company's CEO, Bijan Khosravi, according to a lawsuit filed May 17 in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

The employees bringing the suit are former marketing coordinator Melissa Simmons, Khosravi's former executive assistant Christy Anderson, and Rhonda Aghaie, who is described in the complaint as the employee solely responsible for human resources at Movaz. The three employees were each employed at four-year-old Movaz for at least two years, but all left the company between August and December 2003.

The trio are asking the court for a jury trial to recoup "damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress" that are "not less than $75,000 per plaintiff," according to the complaint.

Movaz and Khosravi were contacted by Light Reading but declined to comment on pending litigation, although, through a spokesman, Khosravi says he will defend himself against the suit.

The 29-page complaint describes several instances of alleged harassment and verbal abuse by Khosravi and others, though no others are named in the suit. The most serious of Anderson's accusations include an instance where Khosravi allegedly "directed her to come into his office in order to view sexually explicit material he had found on the Internet."

Another accusation involving Anderson is that she was told to use her "feminine charm and sexuality" to lure attendees to Movaz's tradeshow booth. "The Defendant Khosravi even referred to her as the Movaz 'Booth Babe,' " according to the complaint.

Other allegations in the complaint are just plain unappetizing, such as Simmons's allegation that Khosravi asked for his noontime meal by bellowing "Where the f*** is my lunch?"

The three accusers say in the complaint that their protests against any alleged wrongdoing were stunted because "Movaz had no written Employee Manual and no methodology for addressing issues of sexual, racial, age or other harassment."

Aghaie, who claims she was physically assaulted by Khosravi in September 2003, cites one instance where she allegedly prepared an Employee Handbook, only to have her boss indicate that "Movaz did not need an employee handbook and that the company would be better off without one."

From withheld pay raises to sexist jokes, the complaint goes on and on, painting a picture of a hostile workplace for women. Movaz, though, is not devoid of female leaders, as its top ranks include VP and controller Maryjane Stevens.

There were 13,566 sexual harassment charge filings with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last year. Sex and gender discrimination was the second most frequently alleged discrimination last year, the agency says. About 20 percent of all charges filed with the EEOC last year resulted in a "merit resolution," while 63 percent were deemed to have "no reasonable cause."

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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Vesting 12/5/2012 | 1:43:49 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO Not a doubt in anyone's mind.

Truth is truth!

Too many witnesses.

Too many skeletons.
bubble-boy 12/5/2012 | 1:43:46 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO I know Bijan.
Bijan is a friend of mine.
Mr Harvey
Bijan is no Kennedy !!
wainflete 12/5/2012 | 1:43:34 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO Lawsuits filed by those close to the company's decision makers, including the executive assistant to the CEO? Hmmm...Perhaps there are acquisition talks or an IPO being talked about? These ladies probably decided to file the complaint, hoping for a quick settlement offer, knowing that the management will want to clear things up fast.
moremoney 12/5/2012 | 1:43:16 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO Does anyone know how to get an electronic copy of the lawsuit filed against Bijan?
Abby 12/5/2012 | 1:43:08 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO >>However, the dark side of me says this could all be a scam. Did you see the numbers that say a full 63% of the cases brought were without merit!


The EEOC has always been severely understaffed. As a result, the average time an EEOC investigator gets to spend reviewing a complaint is 8 hours. If they take more time, most will be reprimanded for doing so. Furthermore, EEOC investigators are not lawyers, so if the complainant doesnGÇÖt seek legal advice first, more than likely they are wasting their time. Most importantly, the EEOC laws were written to protect corporations, not individuals. Unfortunately, because Corporate America just doesnGÇÖt get it, too many executives take the easy way out and just get rid of the perceived problem instead of enforcing the law. For these reasons, that is why this country will forever be allocating taxpayer dollars to fund the EEOC and corporations will be forever be spending shareholder equity to hire law firms to defend actions or non-action. Sad, but true, it is a complete no win situation.
colo guy 12/5/2012 | 1:43:03 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO Obviously you don't know Bijon. Absolutely wouldn't work.
mc-photon 12/5/2012 | 1:42:41 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO How many of us has never looked at dirty pictures emailed to us by a friend?

Too bad for Bijan, but his crime was letting his testoterone-fueled personality close down the parts of his brain that should have told him that as a CEO he needs to act differently than the sales dweeb in the middle cubicle.

For those of us that know Bijan, it is probably not surprising to hear these things. He needs to get this dealt with quickly, as these are the type of nasty personal things that erode personal credibility in a big way.
Upside_again 12/5/2012 | 1:42:08 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO >he needs to act differently than the sales dweeb >in the middle cubicle.

Now your showing your ignorance. I guess the life-blood of your paycheck (sales) is stereo typed in your tech dreeb head as sitting around the fax waiting for orders and acts like this buffoon?

I bet your latest 100 web-hits (today) are dilbert.com while you wait for the free dinner bell every nite.
smpte 12/5/2012 | 1:42:07 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 1:42:05 AM
re: Former Employees Sue Movaz, CEO
Its a measure of the stupidity of those running
Movaz that this has made it to court. They should
have settled this quietly for whatever price
was necessary before it was even filed. The
money to settle this, however much, would have
been worth it.

If anyone was looking at Movaz (IPO or whatever),
this is a big sign that says stay away. People
in responsible positions who are personally out
of control often can indicate a whole organization
thats out of control. The fish rots from the
head down.


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