Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’

Sexually Hostile Environment at Maryland Store, EEOC Charges in Suit Against Dollar General

We had hoped in the #MeToo era that this kind of behavior would be no more, but, alas it continues, according to federal investigators.

Dollar General violated federal law when it subjected a store manager to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced September 25.

According to the EEOC’s suit, within a week of Dollar General hiring an assistant store manager for its Rock Hall, Md., location on May 28, 2016, the store manager began sexually harassing her. He frequently made crude comments about her appearance or sexually charged innuendoes. The EEOC also charges that the store manager repeatedly subjected the assistant manager to unwelcome touching, including once grabbing her head and forcing it to his crotch while making a sexual innuendo; rubbing her shoulders; and grabbing her and ripping her blouse.

The EEOC said that after the assistant manager complained to Dollar General management, they transferred her to its Chestertown store, which required earlier, less convenient hours and added an hour to her daily commute. Dollar General refused to return her to the Rock Hall location and even permitted the harasser to go to the Chestertown store once while she was working there. The EEOC said that the assistant manager was compelled to resign on July 31, 2016, based on Dollar General’s inadequate response to her sexual harassment complaint.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dolgencorp, LLC, t/a Dollar General Stores Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02965) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“No one should be forced to endure sexually offensive comments or unwelcome physical touching to earn a living,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “The EEOC stands ready to protect workers from this kind of misconduct, including litigation if necessary, if employers allow managers to abuse employees in this way.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “As the #MeToo movement has demonstrated, far too many women are subjected to sexual harassment at work. The EEOC is committed to preventing sexual harassment and recently reconvened its Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. The Select Task Force’s report, issued on June 20, 2016, provides employers with detailed recommendations on preventing harassment, including recommendations regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training, and developing a sense of collective responsibility.”

The EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

Harassment Rampant at Employer, EEOC Alleges

Male and black employees suffered grievously from harassment at this workplace, according to federal officials.

Riddle Painting and Coatings, an Arizona industrial and commercial painting company, violated federal law when it subjected employees to a hostile work environment based on race and sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on September 21.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, employees at Riddle Painting frequently used the N-word and one employee in particular repeatedly called a black employee the N-word. The EEOC also charged that male employees at Riddle Painting used sexually derogatory language and repeatedly inappropriately touched other male employees’ legs, buttocks and genitals. According to the EEOC, at least one employee complained about the harassment, and Riddle Painting knew or should have known of the racial and same sex sexual harassment but failed to take any actions to stop or remedy the abuse. The EEOC further charged that the racial and same sex sexual harassment made working conditions so difficult that an employee was forced to resign.

Sexual and racial harassment are forms of discrimination which are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (EEOC v. Michael L. Riddle Painting, Inc., d/b/a Riddle Painting & Coatings Case No. 2:18-cv-02990-DLR) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks monetary damages for the harassment victims, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct discrimination.

“The EEOC remains vigilant in its fight to identify, remedy, and ultimately eradicate racial and sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “Racial expletives should never be used in any workplace – they’re demeaning, offensive and unacceptable. Employers are legally required to stop this kind of abusive language and behavior.”

Elizabeth Cadle, the EEOC’s Phoenix District director, added, “Employers may think allowing sexual harassment in the workplace is acceptable as long as it is labeled as horseplay. It isn’t, and employers that allow their employees to be bullied in this way will be held accountable.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The Phoenix District Office conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

$220,000 Settlement Wraps Up EEOC Harassment, Age Lawsuit Versus Phoenix Eatery

The service at this Arizona restaurant wasn’t so fine regarding its older women employees.

Phoenix restaurant Francisco Fine Foods LLC, doing business as Mariscos Altata, agreed to pay $220,000 and furnish other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Sept. 21. The EEOC charged the restaurant with severe sexual harassment, age discrimination, and retaliation against a group of women.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, female employees of Mariscos Altata were subjected to sexual harassment including unwanted touching, grabbing, fondling, sexual comments, requests for sex, and other unlawful conduct since at least February 2011. The lawsuit additionally charged that Mariscos Altata subjected an employee to harassment based on her age, including comments that she was a “worthless old lady” and coworkers ridiculing her by taking bets on her age. Mariscos Altata also retaliated against women who refused to comply with sexual demands, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination and retaliation, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against employees over the age of 40. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Francisco’s Fine Foods, LLC d/b/a Mariscos Altata, Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-00945- JJT in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona after first attempting to reach a settlement through its pre-litigation conciliation process. The lawsuit sought back pay and compensatory and punitive damages as well as appropriate injunctive relief to prevent discrimination in the future.

Under the four-and-a-half-year consent decree settling the lawsuit, which was signed by federal District Court Judge John J. Tuchi today, Mariscos Altata is ordered to revise its employment policies in consultation with an outside consultant. The company must also establish a robust system for employees to report harassment, discrimination, and retaliation; post an anti-discrimination notice; evaluate managers based on their compliance with EEO laws; and train its managers and employees on the law and Marisco Altata’s policies against discrimination. The restaurant also agreed to terminate the alleged harasser and never rehire him. Mariscos Altata will also send letters of apology to all of the women affected by the harassment and retaliation.

“Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be an epidemic in many workplaces, including restaurants,” said the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office regional attorney, Mary Jo O’Neill. “It is clearly unacceptable and illegal misconduct. No employee should ever be subjected to such degrading and abusive behavior in order to make a living to support herself and her family. Employers who fail to protect vulnerable employees from predatory abuse should know that the EEOC will step in to stop it.”

Elizabeth Cadle, district director of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “Employees who stand up for themselves should never fear adverse employment actions as a result. Unfortunately, over 45 percent of charges to the EEOC involve allegations of retaliation – the most common type of discrimination charge. Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from sexual harassment and retaliation.”

The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and parts of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).

EEOC Cites Harassment at Del Taco Eatery

Young female workers in the restaurant trade continue to have to put up with sexual harassment on the job. Each time a complaint is filed to stop this behavior is a step forward for workers’ rights.

Regional fast food chain Del Taco violated federal law when at least three male employees, including those in supervisory roles, sexually harassed and retaliated against a group of young female workers at a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Del Taco, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in a lawsuit filed September 17.

According to the EEOC, supervisory officials harassed female staff, most of them teenagers, with inappropriate sexual comments and unwanted physical touching. Some of the young women made formal complaints to management, human resources and the EEOC, but no corrective action was taken by the company. Instead, the company retaliated against those who complained by changing their schedules and reducing their working hours. The EEOC contends that this created a hostile work environment and the women felt they had no choice but to resign.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Del Taco LLC, Case No. 5:18-cv-01978) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks monetary damages for the class of victims, as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent and correct discrimination.

“Employers need to take a serious proactive approach to promoting accountability, training and leadership to achieve a workplace free of harassment,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.

Rosa M. Viramontes, director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District added, “Younger employees are a highly vulnerable segment of the workforce and may be easy targets for harassers. Employers need to understand that they may be especially liable to experience such abuse, especially when the misconduct is committed by those to whom they have delegated authority.”

According the company’s website, www.deltaco.com, the chain operates in 15 states and has 310 corporate locations, along with 241 franchise locations. The majority of its restaurants are in the west coast states of California, Oregon and Washington.

Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

Arkansas Nursing Care Facility Sued by EEOC for Not Addressing Sexual Harassment Complaints

Employers ignore sexual harassment complaints at their peril.

Happy Valley LLC d/b/a Happy Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation in Malvern, Ark., violated federal law when it failed to address sexual harassment complaints made by female employees and then terminated those employees for complaining of the harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Sept. 14.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company received reports of the harassment as early as May 2016 and as recent as May 2018. The EEOC alleges that it was common knowledge among Happy Valley employees that if one complained about sexual harassment, the company would terminate the employee. Rather than punishing the harasser, the company would punish those who complained. As a result, several employees decided not to report the harassment for fear of losing their jobs. Although the company informed the women who did report harassment that it would take action, the company failed to take any action against the harasser. The EEOC alleges in its complaint that Happy Valley allowed the employee’s harassment to go unchecked.

Sexual harassment and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas Hot Springs Division, Civil Action No. 6:18-cv-06089, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits, and an injunction against future discrimination.

“While the #MeToo movement has brought sexual harassment to the forefront in the media, the EEOC has been working to combat this type of discrimination since the Commission’s inception and the issuance of guidelines in 1980 stating that sexual harassment is prohibited under Title VII,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. “Further, an employer cannot punish an employee for reporting the unlawful harassment.”

Happy Valley operates a nursing care facility in Malvern, Arkansas.

EEOC: Female Employees Harassed at Store

According to the EEOC, this New York store was not a hospitable place for women to work.

Foodtown Corp., a supermarket in Elmhurst, N.Y., violated  federal law by maintaining a hostile work environment where two female workers  were sexually harassed by their supervisor and then fired for opposing this misconduct,  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on September 10.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, two female employees were subjected  to repeated, egregious sexual harassment by their supervisor, a department  manager. This included solicitations for sex, lewd comments about the women’s  bodies, and inappropriate touching of their bodies, the complaint alleges. The  women repeatedly rejected the supervisor’s advances, and one reported the  harassment to the store manager. Despite this complaint, the harassment continued,  and the supervisor then terminated both employees in retaliation for their  rejection of his unwanted advances, the EEOC charges.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from  discriminating based on sex, and also from retaliating against workers who  object to discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination  prohibited by the statute. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for  the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. Foodtown Corp., and 82-10 Baxter  Avenue Food Corp. d/b/a Foodtown a/k/a Foodtown of Baxter Avenue, Civil Action  No. 18-cv-5100) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement  through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive  damages for the two employees and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation  effort will be led by Senior Trial Attorney Adela Santos, supervised by  Supervisory Trial Attorney Raechel Adams.

“Federal law gives employees the right to work in an environment free  from sexual harassment,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s  New York District Office. “No worker should be forced to endure lewd comments,  propositions for sex, and inappropriate touching just so she can earn a  paycheck.”

The EEOC’s New York District director, Kevin Berry, added, “Sexual  harassment victims who bring the abuse to the attention of their supervisors  are doing the company a favor and should never be punished for it. The EEOC  will continue to aggressively enforce federal laws against retaliation for  reporting discrimination in the workplace.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office oversees New York, Northern New  Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and  Maine.

Power Failure: Utility Liable for Harassment, Retaliation Involving Woman, EEOC Alleges

This temporary worker who allegedly suffered sexual harassment and retaliation from her assigned company has an ally in the Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission.

Charleston,  W.V.-based Appalachian Power Company, an electric utility company, violated  federal law when it subjected a contract administrative assistant to sexual  harassment and then fired her for complaining about it, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit it announced on August 27.

According to the suit, the  contract administrative assistant began working in Appalachian Power Company’s  accounting department at its Clinch River facility in November 2016. Not long  after she started, her supervisor subjected her to repeated sexual harassment,  such as making unwelcome comments about her body, expressing his physical  attraction to her, telling her that he loved her and that he wanted to leave  his wife for her, and scrutinizing her interactions with co-workers. The  administrative assistant told him she was not interested in a relationship,  but the supervisor continued to harass her, once telling her, “You can get me  in a lot of trouble, but I know you would not do that because I’ll pull rank  and terminate you.” Because the employee objected to his unwelcome harassment,  the supervisor abruptly discharged her, the EEOC says.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the  Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment based on sex. Title VII  also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who oppose sexual  harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Appalachian Power Company, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00035) in  U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Abingdon Division,  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

“No worker, whether a  permanent or temporary employee, should be forced to endure egregious sexual  harassment in order to make a living, or suffer retaliation for opposing the  harassment,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R.  Williamson added, “The EEOC stands ready to protect the rights of employees to  refuse unwelcome sexual advances. Employers should take action to root out  sexual harassment, not punish workers who complain about it.”

The EEOC’s Pittsburgh Area  Office is one of four offices in the agency’s Philadelphia District Office,  which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and  parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District  Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of  Virginia.