Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’

On the Menu at this Greek NYC Eatery? Harassment of Female Employees, Says EEOC

Fresh Greek is no place for women to work, if these allegations by the government pan out.

Fresh Greek, a restaurant chain with four stores in New York City, violated federal law by subjecting female employees to groping, grinding and lascivious comments, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Monday

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the district manager of GRK’s four New York City restaurants touched female employees’ breasts and backsides; ground into their backsides with his crotch; placed his head on their breasts; hugged and picked them up; and massaged their shoulders.

The EEOC said the district manager told one employee that she would make a good stripper and that he’d like to sleep with her mother; described the tattoo near his genitals while patting his thigh; called female employees “bitches,” “baby,” and “beautiful”; talked about wanting them to lose weight or wear tighter clothing; and discussed his and their sex lives.

The lawsuit also charges that female employees complained to the district manager and told him to stop, but that he laughed and continued harassing them. They complained to other managers as well, but nothing was done. With no end in sight to this continuing harassment, some felt compelled to resign, the EEOC said.

All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination-including harassment-because of sex.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (EEOC v. GRK Fresh Holdings LLC et al., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-04614) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation effort will be led by Trial Attorney Daniel Seltzer and Supervisory Trial Attorney Nora Curtin.

“As this case demonstrates, sexual harassment of employees in the restaurant industry is an ongoing problem,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office. “The EEOC stands ready to protect workers in this and other industries from harassment if their employers fail to do so.”

Seltzer added, “Simply having an anti-harassment policy doesn’t cut it. An employer must have an effective procedure for employees to report harassment, and must promptly rectify it. Where, as here, an employer fails to do so, the EEOC will step in.”

According to Kevin Berry, the EEOC’s New York District director, “No employee should have to endure pervasive verbal and physical harassment simply to earn a living.”

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. The Buffalo Local Office conducted the investigation resulting in this lawsuit.

Resort Owner Too Hands-on With Female Staff, EEOC Alleges in New Sexual Harassment Suit

These supposedly laid-back venues were anything but for the female staff, according to federal civil rights enforcers.

Two resorts located along the Columbia River violated federal law when their owner repeatedly subjected female employees to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed May 13.

According to the lawsuit, female employees at both Bonneville Hot Springs and Carson Hot Springs Resort and Golf Course faced repeated attempts to get them alone to subject them to lewd sexual comments and propositions, inappropriate touching and groping by owner Perfil Cam.  Cam, along with his daughter Marfa Scheratski, owned and managed the two resorts. Despite repeated complaints to various members of human resources and management, the resorts failed to stop the harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.  The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort, LLC., Case No. 3:19-cv-05409) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks money damages for the female workers and injunctive relief to remedy and prevent sexual harassment from recurring.

This is the agency’s second lawsuit involving Bonneville Hot Springs Inc. The earlier lawsuit was settled on behalf of group of female employees for $470,000 in 2008. (EEOC, et. al. v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. Case No. C07-5321-FDB.)

EEOC Seattle Field Office Director Nancy Sienko said, “The EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace observes that power disparities can be a risk factor for harassment. The power difference between an owner and his employees is very extreme, making it more intimidating for those workers to speak up about the unwelcomed behavior.  We commend these women for reporting harassment internally as well as to the EEOC, and we will defend their rights to work free from such conduct.”

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Teri Healy said, “These resorts were two of the largest employers in this rural community.  No worker should be forced to choose between earning a living and preserving personal safety and dignity.”

Current and former employees who have information about sexual harassment at the resorts or were victims of harassment are encouraged to contact the EEOC.  Lead Attorney Healy can be reached at 1-833-779-3986 or through email: BonnevilleCarson@eeoc.gov.

The EEOC’s Seattle Field Office has jurisdiction over Eastern Washington.

Arby’s Franchisee Pays Big in Harassment Case

Parents of teenage daughters in these southern states should rest easier now with the conclusion of a sexual harassment case against a major fast food franchise.

Beavers’ Inc., owner and operator of 51 Arby’s locations in south Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle, has agreed to pay $84,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced April 10.

The EEOC’s Mobile office investigated charges of discrimination filed by three teenage female crew members. The lawsuit charges that Beavers’ permitted a sexually hostile work environment based on ongoing sexually explicit comments and other harassment by an older male team leader at its Atmore, Alabama location. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleged the harasser described sexual acts he wanted to perform with the teen workers, made inappropriate remarks about his anatomy, and deliberately pressed his pelvis against two of the female employees. According to the lawsuit, the three teen workers, as well as other employees, complained multiple times to on-site management about the harassment but the company allowed the harassment to continue.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment in the workplace. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Beavers’ Inc., d/b/a Arby’s, Case No. 1:18-cv-00150) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the 48-month consent decree resolving the suit, Beavers’ will pay $84,000 to the three harassment victims, will develop and disseminate anti-harassment policies, and will train its employees and managers on the requirements of Title VII’s prohibitions against sexual harassment. In addition, the company will instruct employees on how to report sexual harassment, and how managers should investigate complaints of sexual harassment.

“The EEOC remains committed to protecting vulnerable employees, such as teen workers in their first jobs, from a sexually hostile work environment,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Bradley Anderson. “The EEOC is pleased that Beavers’ Inc. agreed early in the litigation process to take steps to prevent such harassment, and train its management how to promptly investigate and correct sexual harassment in the future.”

Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, said, “An anti-harassment policy is insufficient without proper training on how to recognize, report, and investigate sexual harassment. Employers must realize that young employees who lack workplace experience may be too intimidated to complain and need workable avenues to report harassment without further humiliation or embarrassment.”

The EEOC’s Youth@Work campaign (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/) is designed to teach teens and other young workers about employment discrimination. It includes curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

Chili’s Reception: Sexual Harassment Pervasive at Colorado Restaurant, EEOC Alleges in Lawsuit

The service at this Colorado eatery was anything but hospitable to its female employees, said federal civil rights enforcers.

A Chili’s  restaurant in Cañon City, Colorado, violated federal law by subjecting  female employees to sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the restaurant’s  managing partner and assistant manager subjected female servers and hostesses  to sexual harassment, including pervasive sexual comments and innuendo. The  EEOC alleges that the restaurant failed to take preventative or corrective  action when employees complained about the harassment and that some women who  could not tolerate the harassment were forced to resign. The EEOC also alleges  that management took retaliatory action against some of the female employees  who complained about the harassment, including a reduction in scheduled hours.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII  of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits retaliation and employment  discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit  in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. Brinker  Restaurant Corporation d/b/a Chili’s Grill & Bar and Brinker International  Payroll Company, L.P., Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00970) after first attempting  to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

“The EEOC saw a 12 percent rise in the  number of sexual harassment charges filed in fiscal year 2018,” said Regional  Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “Preventing  sexual harassment remains a priority for the EEOC and the agency will continue  to enforce the law when employers allow sexual harassment in their workplaces.”

The lawsuit asks the court to order Chili’s  to provide all the affected women with appropriate relief, including back wages  for those forced to resign; compensatory and punitive damages; and a permanent  injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further discriminatory  practice based on sex. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute  and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent sexual  harassment in the workplace.

EEOC Denver Field Director Amy  Burkholder said, “Employers have an important responsibility to maintain a  workplace that is safe and free from sexual harassment. Managers need to be  held accountable for their bad behavior and employers should take prompt  corrective action when they receive complaints.”

HELP USA Settles Harassment Suit for $150K

Harassment of women is never “playful,” a lesson that this employer might now take to heart.

HELP USA, Inc., a nationwide provider of housing  and support services, will pay $150,000 and furnish other relief to settle a  lawsuit for sexual harassment filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced on Friday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a supervisor at the company’s Morris Avenue location in  the Bronx regularly directed unwelcome sexual advances to female employees,  made sexually offensive comments, and ogled women in the workplace. He also  treated female subordinates in a verbally abusive manner, shouting at them and  belittling them and their work. One employee’s repeated complaints about the supervisor’s  conduct went unheeded for months. A manager responded to one such complaint dismissively,  stating that the supervisor engaging in the harassment was just being  “playful.”

Such conduct  violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits  discrimination – including harassment – because of sex. Sex harassment may  include conduct that is openly sexual in nature, such as overtly sexual or  sexist comments or behavior. It may also include hostile or abusive treatment  that is not overtly sexual in nature but is targeted at members of one sex. The  EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New  York (EEOC v. HELP USA, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-07598) after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.

“The EEOC is committed to eradicating sexual harassment in  the workplace,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “We will  continue to fight that kind of harmful misconduct everywhere we can.”

Under the consent decree resolving the  lawsuit, HELP USA will pay $150,000 in damages to the harassment victims. It also requires  HELP USA to maintain and distribute anti-discrimination policies to employees and to provide training to all employees at its Morris Avenue  location. Additionally, any complaints of Title VII discrimination made by HELP  USA employees, such as harassment complaints, will be reported to the EEOC.

Kevin Berry, Director of the EEOC’s New York District Office,  said, “Federal law clearly prohibits sexual harassment. The EEOC will continue  to ensure that employers take this kind of abuse seriously — and employee  complaints about it.”

The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for  processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct  of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut,  Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

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

Temp Subject to Harassment; Employer Forks Over $34K to Settle Resulting EEOC Lawsuit

The foreman couldn’t keep his hands of a female line employee. His employer didn’t stop the harassment. Its next stop was in federal court.

Premier Employee Solutions LLC, a Greensboro, Utah based company that provides temporary labor to a variety of industries, will pay $34,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced March 26.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Sarah Isley began working for Premier around February 2016.  She was assigned as a temporary employee at the Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc. facility, in Whitsett, N.C.  From February 2016 to around April 2016, a male line lead employed by Premier subjected Isley to sexual harassment on a daily or near daily basis.  The sexual conduct included inappropriate comments, sexual gestures, and physical touching, including one occasion where the line lead grabbed Isley’s breasts.  Isley complained to Premier about the sexual harassment, but the harassment continued.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from allowing a sexually hostile work environment to exist in the workplace. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Premier Employee Solutions LLC, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-00823) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

Under the consent decree resolving this case, Premier agreed to implement an amended anti-harassment policy; conduct training for managers, supervisors, and employees at its Greensboro, N.C. facility and the Whitsett facility where Isley worked; post an anti-discrimination notice at both facilities; and periodically report compliance to the EEOC for the duration of the decree.

“Sexual harassment is always unacceptable and unlawful in any workplace,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “The EEOC takes a company’s failure to take appropriate action to stop sexual harassment very seriously and will prosecute cases where this kind of abuse occurs.”

Harassment Settlement Sets Back Employer $70K

A supervisor made life miserable for Hispanic employees at their manufacturing plant; consequently, his company has decided to pay up.

Sys-Con, LLC, a Sys-Con, LLC, a Montgomery, Ala.-based general contractor, will pay two former female employees a total of $70,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced March 11.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, from December 2015 to May 2017, a supervisor at Sys-Con’s worksite at the Hyundai manufacturing plant in Montgomery, demanded sexual favors from two non-English speaking Hispanic female employees and watched pornographic videos in front of them. The EEOC further charged that the supervisor sexually assaulted one of the employees and sub­sequently taunted her, asking whether she “liked it.” Thereafter, the EEOC said, the super­visor threatened to fire both his victims and their husbands, who were also Sys-Con employees, if they reported his harassment. When one of the employees refused his sexual advances, the supervisor terminated her.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are forms of sex discrimination made unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 2:18-cv-00837-WKW in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $70,000 in monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the suit, signed by U.S. District W. Keith Watkins, enjoins Sys-Con from subjecting any employee to sex discrimination or retaliation in the future. Sys-Con must take specified actions designed to prevent future Title VII violations, including issuance of a written statement to its employees confirming its commitment to promoting a workplace free of discriminatory practices; revision of company policies to communicate and implement the company’s commitment to creating and maintaining a harassment-free workplace; and providing annual anti-discrimination training to all supervisors, managers, and other employees, with an emphasis on harassment.

“This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to enforce the rights of all workers from sexual harassment,” said Marsha L. Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District.  “No employee should have to consent to sexual activity with a supervisor or tolerate a sexually hostile work environment to remain employed. We are pleased that as part of the consent decree resolving this lawsuit, Sys-Con will implement policies and training to prevent sexual harassment and provide a safe method to report such abuse without risk of termination.”

Bradley Anderson, district director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, added, “In order for the law protecting workers from sexual harassment to be effective, employees must be able to report harassment without fear of reprisal against them and their family members. Employers should be on notice that the EEOC will act aggressively to protect employees from this type of misconduct.”

Sys-Con works on construction projects and also provides facility and building maintenance services.

The EEOC’s Birmingham District Office has jurisdiction over Alabama, Mississippi (all but 17 counties in the northern part of Mississippi), and the Florida Panhandle.