Former employee’s are suing Panda Express over degrading training that involved striping with co-workers for a promotion.
The allegations stem from a seminar the company held with another group, Alive Seminars and Coaching Academy, where employees complained over what is now being described as psychological abuse.
The 23-year-old woman is suing Panda Restaurant Group, headquartered in Rosemead, and Alive Seminars and Coaching Academy in Pico Rivera for sexual battery, a hostile work environment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
At the start, attendees were told to sit down and not talk, and were left in isolation for a full hour before a man stormed in, yelling in Spanish and berating them for sitting there and doing nothing, when that is exactly what they had been instructed to do, says the complaint.
The man, an Alive Seminars employee, loudly proclaimed that the attendees were “nothing” and “don’t matter,” and berated them individually, the suit says. “The overall effect was that of a particularly nasty drill sergeant.”
“The atmosphere resembled less a self-improvement seminar than a site for off the-books interrogation of terrorist suspects,” the complaint alleges. “The sensory isolation and intimidation was reinforced by constant yelling and verbal abuse by seminar staff, creating an atmosphere of fear in the room. Nevertheless, most attendees, including plaintiff, felt that they had no choice but to remain because they were sent to the seminar by Panda Express and told that their opportunity for promotion would depend on completion of the seminar.”
The report goes on to say that the seminar looked more like a cult ritual than a self improvement workshop. This is real abuse and should not be taken lightly if true. The name of the plaintiff has been kept out of reporting as the case could evolve to a criminal case revolving around sexual assault.