Company Settles Sex Bias Suit Arising From CEO’s Invitation to Female Applicant to “Party”

It was a dumb move by the CEO of an educational services company to ask a job applicant out on a date and then decline to hire her when she declined his invitation.

But it was a wise move in light of those allegations to settle the sex discrimination lawsuit that ensued.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on May 8 that the company headed by the CEO, Special Education Associates, Inc., which provides educational services to students with developmental and learning disabilities in New York City, will pay $57,000 and furnish other relief to resolve the commission’s lawsuit.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, the company’s chief executive officer asked a job applicant out on a date and suggested that she “party” with him right after he offered her a job at the company. After the applicant declined and said that she hoped that “we can move forward in a strictly professional manner,” the company declined to hire her. Instead, the CEO conducted additional interviews and hired a male candidate, the EEOC said.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hiring based on sex and likewise forbids retaliating against individuals who object to such discrimination. Sex discrimination includes denying an individual an employment opportunity or a benefit of employment because he or she rejected an unwelcome sexual advance.

“The EEOC appreciates this company’s willingness to resolve this case without protracted litigation,” said Jeffrey Burstein, the EEOC’s regional attorney for the New York District Office. “The agency remains committed to enforcing federal law to ensure that women do not face discriminatory barriers to full and equal participation in the workforce.”

Under the consent decree settling the suit, the company will pay the job applicant $57,000 in lost wages and damages and will adopt new anti-discrimination policies and procedures. The decree bars the company in the future from conditioning job opportunities, promotions, compensation, or other terms of employment on an individual’s willingness to meet individually with the company’s chief executive officer outside of the workplace. The decree also requires annual, live, in-person training on anti-discrim­ination laws for all employees, including the CEO.

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry said, “There is nothing ambiguous about the laws against sexual harassment. Employers cannot condition hiring or promotion on an employee’s willingness to go out on a date.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: