Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’

Airline Tagged by EEOC for Allowing Male Pilot to Harass Flight Attendant By Spreading Photos

The skis weren’t friendly for this female flight attendant, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has charged.

United Airlines, Inc., an international airline operating in over 300 airports across five continents, violated federal law by subjecting a female flight attendant to a hostile work environment of sexual harassment over a multi-year period, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 9.

According to the lawsuit, a United captain frequently posted sexually explicit images of a United flight attendant to various websites, making reference to the flight attendant’s name, home airport, and sometimes referencing the airline’s tagline “Fly the Friendly Skies.” The lawsuit alleges that the posts were seen by co-workers and adversely affected the flight attendant’s working environment. United failed to prevent and correct the pilot’s behavior, even after the flight attendant made numerous complaints and provided substantial evidence to support her complaints, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:18-cv-817) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

The lawsuit asks the court to order United to provide the flight attendant with appropriate relief, including compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further gender-discriminatory practices. 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.

“Employers have an obligation to take steps to stop sexual harassment in the workplace when they learn it is occurring through cyber-bullying via the internet and social media,” said Philip Moss, a trial attorney in the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “When employers fail to take action, they fail their workers and enable the harassment to continue.”

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez added, “Here, United was aware of the intimate details of how its pilot was harassing its flight attendant, but took no responsibility to put a stop to it. As a result, over a period of many years, the flight attendant had to work every day in fear of humiliation if a co-worker or customer recognized her from the pilot’s postings. This is unacceptable, and the EEOC is here to fight such misconduct.”

W.Va. Restaurant on Hook For $66,000 in Settlement of Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit

What’s on the menu for female employees at this West Virginia restaurant wasn’t very appealing, federal regulators say.

Las Trancas of Martinsburg, Inc., a restaurant in Martinsburg, W.V., has agreed to pay $66,598 and provide other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced August 9. The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that Las Trancas violated federal law by subjecting female employees to egregious sexual harassment, sex discrimination and retaliation.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Las Trancas subjected former employees Raquel Ramirez Rivera and Virginia Sanchez Garcia to a hostile work environment because of their sex, including regular and repeated sexual touching and grabbing, lewd sexual comments, and other offensive and threatening behaviors by several male supervisors and coworkers. The EEOC charged that Sanchez Garcia was fired as a result of the harassment when she refused to submit to her supervisor’s advances. The EEOC’s suit further charged that the restaurant subjected Ramirez Rivera to unfavorable terms and conditions of her employment and a constructive discharge because of her sex and in retaliation for opposing Las Trancas’s unlawful employment practices.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids sexual harassment in employment and retaliation for opposing such misconduct. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia (Civil Action No. 3:18-cv-00116) after first attempting to reach a pre-suit settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.

The consent decree resolving the EEOC’s lawsuit has been approved and entered by court. In addition to paying $66,598 in monetary relief to the victims, Las Trancas has agreed to post notices of employee rights required under Title VII, develop and implement an anti-discrimination policy, and provide training on discrimination and harassment to all employees at the Martinsburg location and two other restaurant locations. The company will also appoint an equal employment opportunity officer and hire a third-party consultant to assist with investigating and responding to future complaints of discrimination and harassment. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the two-year consent decree.

“No worker should ever have to endure sexually degrading and humiliating work conditions in order to earn a living,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the agency’s Philadelphia District Office. “Employers should encourage victims of sexual harassment to come forward, not illegally punish their employees for reporting such abuse. Encouraging employees to report sexual harassment in the workplace is both smart business practice and the right thing to do.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie Williamson added, “We commend Las Trancas for working collaboratively with the EEOC’s legal unit to put systems in place to prevent and correct future incidents of sexual harassment. This sort of abuse is far too common in the restaurant industry. The EEOC is committed to protecting restaurant workers from sexual harassment and to vindicating their rights under federal law to resist such mistreatment and report it.

EEOC: Ga. Piggly Wiggly Store Allowed Harassment, Retaliation Against Two Women

This Georgia convenience store is not a hospitable place for women to work at, according to federal regulators.

Rockdale Grocery, Inc., doing business as Piggly Wiggly, violated federal law by subjecting two female workers to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliating against them for opposing the sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 9.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a male employee made lewd sexual comments and sexual advances to two female store clerks, Cynthia Thompson and Megan Baker, at the Piggly Wiggly store in Hogansville, Ga. Thompson and Baker reported the harassment to the store manager on multiple occasions, but the company failed to take any action to stop the harassment. Instead, the company cut Baker’s hours after she complained, and later fired both Thompson and Baker after they filed a written complaint detailing the harassment.

Such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting the harassment. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-3778-AT-JKL) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking back pay, front pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Thompson and Baker, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future harassment and retaliation.

“Sexual harassment can only be stopped when employees stand up against it and when employers take action to stop it,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “The EEOC will also stand with those who speak out against harassment.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Antonette Sewell explained, “Employers must show they take complaints of sexual harassment seriously, rather than punish those who report it. Failing to discipline harassers and firing those who report harassment shows blatant disregard for the law. Here, Rockdale Grocery, responded unlawfully to Thompson’s and Baker’s complaints when it made the decision to fire them after receiving their complaints. Employers only make a bad situation worse – especially for themselves – when they punish discrimination victims instead of stopping the abuse.”

Cal. Country Club Named in Harassment Suit

What purportedly went on at this country club should shock anyone concerned over the fair treatment of female employees.

Fairbanks Ranch Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., one of 22 California private member clubs forming The Bay Club, violated federal law when it failed to prevent and redress ongoing sexual harassment of female workers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 9.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the manager at Fairbanks Ranch sexually harassed a class of female employees daily, including soliciting naked pictures from them; grabbing their buttocks; attempting to kiss them; offering an employee to male customers for lap dances; and even choking one employee. This type of behavior was so prevalent that other employees felt free to engage in sexual harassment as well, the federal agency charged.

The EEOC further charges that the manager was the sole decision maker and had the authority to hire and fire at will. He regularly abused his position by requiring sexual favors for job benefits, the federal agency contends. When the women would refuse, the manager threatened termination, or reduced their working hours. Because of this hostile work environment, some female employees felt they had no choice but to resign.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting a claim against discrimination. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern Region of California (EEOC v. Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC, and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, Inc., Case No.3:18-CV-01853-W-BLM), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the complainants and class members as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent Fairbanks Ranch from engaging in future discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

“Every employer has an obligation to prevent sexual harassment at its workplaces,” said Anna Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which has jurisdiction over San Diego County. “Maintaining an employee manual is not enough. Training and oversight for all staff members must become how employers ensure safety and compliance in this area of the law.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office added, “The allegations of this case are especially shocking, being that a manager was involved. Having ultimate hiring authority does not permit leveraging that power to take from those who work for you.”

Fairbanks Ranch Country Club was acquired by Bay Club Fairbanks Ranch, LLC on July 18, 2016. Its parent corporation is BC Equity Ventures, LLC.

Koch Foods Forks Over $3.75M for Hispanic Workers Discriminated Against at Southern Plant

Working conditions for workers this chicken processing plant should be on the upswing thanks to the federal government’s intervention.

Koch Foods, one of the largest poultry suppliers in the world, will pay $3,750,000 and furnish other relief to settle a class employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Aug. 1.  The EEOC charged the company with sexual harassment, national origin and race discrimination as well as retaliation against a class of Hispanic workers at Koch’s Morton, Miss., chicken processing plant.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Koch subjected individual plaintiff/intervenors and classes of Hispanic employees and female employees to a hostile work environment and disparate treatment based on their race/national origin (Hispanic), sex (female), and further retaliated against those who engaged in protected activity.1 EEOC alleges that supervisors touched and/or made sexually suggestive comments to female Hispanic employees, hit Hispanic employees and charged many of them money for normal everyday work activities. Further, a class of Hispanic employees was subject to retaliation in the form of discharge and other adverse actions after complaining.

All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Koch Foods of Miss., LLC, Civ. No.11-00391 DPJ/FKB (S.D. Miss.)) on June 29, 2011 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s case was later consolidated with the lawsuit previously filed by plaintiff/intervenors, Maria Cazorla, et. al. v. Koch Foods of Mississippi, LLC and Jessie Ickom, Civ. No. 10-00135-DPJ-FKB. The plaintiff-intervenors were represented by Southern Migrant Legal Services, a special project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, in Nashville, Tenn., and Robert McDuff, of the Law Office of Robert McDuff in Jackson, Miss.

The three-year consent decree entered today by Judge Daniel P. Jordan III provides for $3,750,000 in monetary relief for the victims. In addition, Koch Foods will take specified actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including implementing new policies and practices designed to prevent discrimination based on race, sex or national origin; providing anti-discrimination training to employees; creating a 24-hour hotline for reporting discrimination complaints in English and Spanish; and posting policies and anti-discrimination notices in its workplace in English and Spanish.

“We commend Koch Foods for its commitment to settle this case, which contained serious allegations of harassment,” said EEOC Birmingham Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker. “The significant monetary award, the corrective measures in this decree, including EEOC monitoring, should prevent this kind of alleged misconduct in the future.”

Bradley Anderson, the EEOC’s district director for the Birmingham District Office, added, “We take allegations of abuse seriously. No one working in America deserves to be harassed in the workplace, and, as evidenced in this lawsuit, the EEOC will engage in vigorous law enforcement efforts to protect workers.”

Koch Foods is an international poultry processor that deals in fresh and frozen foods. Its corporate headquarters is in Park Ridge, Ill., and it has locations in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Koch Foods employs approximately 14,000 people.

$3.5M Award Closes Sexual Harassment Suit

One million here, one million there–and soon it adds up to real money.

So said the legendary Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen.

And when a lawsuit is settled for millions of dollars, that’s a big deal, too.

The U.S. District Court approved a consent decree between Alorica, Inc. and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $3.5 million and remedial measures to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit, the federal agency announced August 1.

According to the EEOC, male and female customer service employees were subjected to harassment, including a sexually hostile work environment, by managers and coworkers. The EEOC further alleged that the onsite human resources staff failed to properly address the harassment despite repeated complaints by employees, which the EEOC contends violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (U.S. EEOC v. Alorica, Inc., Case No.: 1:17-cv-1270-LJO-MJS) and reached an early settlement of the lawsuit. The court approved the consent decree that resolves the case, which remains under the court’s jurisdiction during the term of the decree.

The $3.5 million will be distributed among a class of victims of sexual harassment from the Fresno and Clovis, Calif. facilities, pursuant to a claims process set forth in the decree. In addition to the monetary relief, Alorica agreed to significant injunctive relief in the form of a three-year consent decree, which includes the hiring of a third-party monitor; the creation of an internal equal employment opportunity consultant and internal compliance officer; and, sexual harassment training, including incorporating civility and bystander intervention training, for its employees. The company also agreed to revise its anti-discrimination and retaliation policies and procedures as well as maintain records of any future sexual harassment and retaliation complaints, audits, and reporting.

“While no one should have to experience harassment on the job, I commend the women and men who bravely came forward in this case and brought their experience of harassment to the EEOC,” said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. “I also commend our enforcement and legal teams, and the parties involved, for coming to a resolution that both provides relief to these women and men, and makes positive changes to the company’s workplace practices.”

“Sexual harassment continues to be a pressing issue in our region and we urge employers to take more proactive measures to prevent such misconduct,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Fresno County in its jurisdiction. “We commend Alorica for working with the EEOC to create and implement measures that will prevent future abuses.”

Rosa Viramontes, district director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, added, “Combatting systemic harassment is a top priority of the Commission. Employees have the right to file complaints against employers that fail to protect them from sexual harassment, without the fear of retaliation.”

According to Alorica’s website, http://www.alorica.com, the company provides customer management solutions in the form of third party call center and technology services. Alorica is based out of Irvine, Calif., employing 100,000 workers across 16 countries, in 140 locations.

Individuals who believe they were subjected to sexual harassment while working for Alorica at the Fresno and Clovis, Calif. facilities between August 2014 to the present, can contact the EEOC at 1-855-725-445.

Crop Yield: $300K Settlement Against Farm Labor Contractor in Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit

Sexual harassment isn’t limited to offices, factory floors, and restaurants. It happens on farms also. And in this recent case harassed female farm workers obtained some measure of justice.

Bornt & Sons, Inc. and its former farm labor contractor Barraza Farm Service, LLC/ Barraza Farm Service, Inc. will pay $300,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced July 25.

According to the EEOC, a farm manager sexually harassed a class of four female workers by leering at them; grabbing their private areas; making sexual comments; and subjecting them to unwanted touching and kissing. The EEOC contends that the manager retaliated against at least three women who refused his sexual advances, either by firing or refusing to rehire them — a tactic also employed against workers who reported or complained about the harassment. Bornt & Sons and Barraza also fired at least three male farmworkers for their familial association with the sexual harassment victims, according to the EEOC. The EEOC further charged that the companies failed to take corrective action when they became aware of the federal investigation into sexual harassment, instead moving the harasser to a different farm.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against the agribusiness in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in April 2017 (EEOC v. Bornt & Sons, Inc. dba Bornt Family Farms; Barraza Farm Service, LLC dba Barraza Farm Service and/or Barraza Farm Services; and Barraza Farm Service, Inc. dba Barraza Farm Service and/or Barraza Farm Services, Case No: 3:17-cv-00678-W-NLS). The court approved the consent decree that resolves this case, which remains under the court’s jurisdiction for the term of the decree.

As part of the three-year consent decree, Bornt & Sons and Barraza Farm Services will pay $300,000 to the sexual harassment and retaliation victims. The companies further agreed to immediate reinstatement for those workers previously denied reemployment, along with the assignment of an EEO compliance coordinator who will assist in regular EEO compliance audits. The companies also agreed to the creation of a new employee policy manual addressing harassment and its reporting procedures, sexual harassment and EEO training of all staff members, and the creation of a centralized record keeping log to track all harassment complaints. The EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.

“Sexual harassment continues to remain a persistent problem in the agriculture industry,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes San Diego in its jurisdiction. “Employers should take advantage of the EEOC’s harassment report recommendations to ensure a hostile free work environment.”

Rosa Viramontes, director for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, added, “In this case, the farmworkers exhibited great courage in reporting the harassment and showing others that there are resources to combat such abuse. Employers should welcome reports of harassment as an opportunity to stop and correct inappropriate behavior. Retaliation against workers who exercise their right to complain is not only against the law, but also allows the hostile work environment to fester.”

Bornt & Sons, headquartered in Holtville, Calif., operates organic farms specializing in organic salad mix in Imperial County, Calif. Barraza Farm Service is a labor contractor that provides workers to area farms. Barraza Farm Service has locations in Calipatria and Holtville, Calif.

Eliminating discriminatory practices affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws or reluctant or unable to exercise them is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).