Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’

$285K Settlement Ends EEOC Suit for Sexual Harassment Against Elmhurst, NY Supermarket

Working at this New York supermarket was a nightmare for these two female employees, but the supermarket paid up big in the end also.

82-10 Baxter  Ave. Food Corp., doing business as Foodtown, will pay $285,000 and furnish  other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Tuesday.

According to EEOC’s  lawsuit, a department manager of the Elmhurst, N.Y., supermarket physically and  verbally sexually harassed two female workers under his supervision at the  facility, then fired them because they resisted his advances. The harassment  included comments about their appearance, propositions for sex, forced  kissing, and other unwanted touching. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. 82-10 Baxter  Ave. Food Corp. d/b/a Foodtown (a/k/a Foodtown of Baxter Avenue) (E.D.N.Y. Case  No. 18-cv-05100) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on  Sept. 30, 2018, after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through  its conciliation process.

The three-year consent  decree resolving the case provides that, in addition to paying $285,000, the  company will adopt new policies and procedures to prevent and report sexual  harassment and will train its managers and staff on identifying and preventing  sexual harassment and retaliation. The policies and staff training will be  available in Spanish. The decree also requires that the company investigate any  complaints of sexual harassment it receives and provide copies of its  investigations to the EEOC. The EEOC will monitor the company’s compliance with  these obligations and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the next  three years.

“Employers should take  seriously their responsibility to prevent sexual harassment of their  employees,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein.  “If they don’t, the EEOC will take action, including litigation when necessary.  Many employees, especially low-wage and immigrant  workers, fear reporting sexual harassment. It took great courage for  these women to come forward and participate in this case.”

EEOC New York District Director Kevin  Berry added, “The conduct at issue in this case was egregious. We are glad the company agreed to adopt policies and  provide crucial training that will educate its workforce.”

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.

EEOC: Janitorial Service Looked Other Way at Sexual Harassment of Four Female Employees

This janitorial service has come cleaning up to do of the treatment it subjects female employees to.

HM Solutions, Inc., a Greenville, S.C.-based company that provides commercial and industrial janitorial services, violated federal law when it subjected four female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed July 22, 2019. The EEOC’s lawsuit also alleges that HM Solutions further violated federal law by discharging the four female employees because they did not acquiesce to sexual harassment or because they complained about the sexually hostile work environment.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, between 2015 and 2017, Sharon Cooper, Tarrell Hudson, Tiffany Moultrie, and Shermiah Townsend worked for HM Solutions at a battery recycling facility in Florence, S.C., performing general housekeeping tasks and cleaning contaminated areas. The EEOC alleges that at various times during each woman’s employment, the women were subjected to sexual harassment by an HM Solutions account manager and a shift supervisor, both male. The alleged sexual harassment included sexual comments, repeated exposing of genitals, and requests for sex and oral sex. The EEOC contends that some of the sexually harassing behavior was observed by other supervisors, who took no action to stop the sexual harassment.

The EEOC further charged that the four female employees repeatedly complained about the ongoing sexual harassment, but that the abuse continued. According to the EEOC’s suit, Cooper, Hudson, Moultrie and Townsend were each ultimately discharged by HM Solutions for not acquiescing to the sexual harassment or in retaliation for complaining about it.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Florence Division (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. HM Solutions, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02043-DCC-KDW) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief, including back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, as appropriate, for the four female employees, as well as injunctive relief.

“Sexual comments and egregious sexual conduct like that alleged in this lawsuit are deplorable and have no place in the workplace,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “The EEOC takes a strong stance in protecting employees from sexual harassment. An employer has an obligation to prevent and correct such misconduct in the workplace. When an employer attempts to actively dissuade employees from complaining about harassment as alleged in this case, it commits a very serious violation of employees’ federally protected rights. The EEOC will prosecute cases where this kind of abuse occurs.”

Bad Tea: Franchise, Owners Left With $102K Bill in EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settlement

The servings at this California eatery were most distasteful to its young female employees–but that should be changing now.

Asian tea and snack restaurant chain Tapioca Express and two of its franchisees have settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $102,500 and other relief, the agency announced Monday.

According to the EEOC, the owner of two Tapioca Express franchisees in Chula Vista and National City, Calif., harassed young Filipino female employees between the ages of 17 and 23, intentionally taking advantage of time alone with them to make unwanted sexual advances. The harassment included repeated and unwanted comments of a sexual nature and physical contact. According to the lawsuit, some employees felt forced to quit due to the increased harassment. Additionally, the EEOC charged that all three defendant com­panies failed to prevent and correct the harassing behavior even after a written complaint was submitted.

Such alleged conduct is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Tapioca Express, Inc., Erivera Enterprise, LLC d/b/a Tapioca Express, and Edeleen, Inc. d/b/a Tapioca Express, Case No. 3:18-cv-01217-MMA-BLM).

In addition to the monetary relief for the victims, Tapioca Express has agreed to retain an external monitor to assist the company with internal EEO audits, reviewing and revising its policies and procedures, and establishing a complaint procedure. Tapioca Express will also provide anti-sexual harassment training to all employees. The court will maintain jurisdiction of the case for the term of the 30-month consent decree settling the suit.

“Harassment remains a persistent problem in the workplace, which must be addressed top-down in any company,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which includes San Diego County in its jurisdiction. “We are encouraged by the steps Tapioca Express has taken to resolve this matter and the measures it has put in place to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.”

Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office, added, “We commend the young women for coming forward to shine a light on the harassment to which they were subjected. Their strength may give courage to other young people or those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who may be suffering harassment or discrimination in the workplace to come forward as well.”

According the company’s website, www.tapiocaexpress.com, the South El Monte, Calif.-based franchise Tapioca Express specializes in milk tea and other popular snacks from Asia, with stores in California, Nevada and Washington.

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

The EEOC’s Youth@Work website (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/) presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination, including curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities.

Closed Piggly Wiggly Store on Hook for $50 in Harassment, Retaliation Case Filed by the EEOC

Score one more for the good guys in trying to eradicate sexual harassment against female employees working in stores.

Rockdale Grocery, Inc., doing business as Piggly Wiggly, will pay $50,000 and provide other relief to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Friday. The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that the company violated federal law by subjecting two female employees to sexual harassment and retaliation.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a male employee made lewd sexual comments and sexual advances to two female store employees, Cynthia Thompson and Megan Baker, at the now-closed Piggly Wiggly store in Hogansville, Ga. Thompson and Baker reported the harassment to the store manager on multiple occasions, but the store manager laughed at them and dismissed their complaints. 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 requested a meeting with the president of the company and filed a written complaint detailing the harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation for opposing such misconduct. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division (Civil Action No. 1:18-CV-03778-AT-JKL) after first attempting to reach a pre-suit settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.

In addition to paying $50,000 in monetary relief, the company has agreed to post notices of employee rights required under Title VII, redistribute an anti-harassment policy, and provide training on sexual harassment and retaliation to all employees at its Dillard, Georgia store and corporate office. The EEOC will monitor compliance with a one-year consent decree.

Here, the store manager was fully aware of the details of the sexual harassment yet took no action to protect Ms. Thompson and Ms. Baker,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC Atlanta District Office. “Companies must take sexual harassment complaints seriously and encourage victims of sexual harassment to come forward, instead of penalizing them for reporting the abuse.”

EEOC Atlanta District Director Darrell Graham added, “No employee should ever have to endure a sexually degrading and humiliating work environment to make a living. The EEOC is committed to vindicating employee rights under federal law to resist such misconduct and report it.”

Rockdale Grocery, Incorporated operated nine Piggly Wiggly stores in Georgia. Since the EEOC’s involvement, eight of the stores have been closed. Currently, Rockdale has a corporate office that supports its one remaining store in Dillard, Ga.

EEOC Recover $35K for Female Employee Harassed by Company’s Owner, Also Its CEO

This “protection” agency did a poor job of protecting a female employee from its owner and CEO’s unwanted sexual advances, federal officials alleged.

Blackwater Protection & Detective Agency, LLC will pay $35,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC), the agency announced July 18.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Blackwater owner and CEO Asdel Vazquez subjected a female employee to continuous sexually charged comments and retaliated against her for rejecting his advances. Asdel Vazquez asked the female employee if she was gay and whom she found attractive at work, asked her to engage in sexual acts with him, petted her hair while she worked, and repeatedly called her at home. The employee, who was employed by Blackwater for only one week, was fired the day after she told Vazquez that she would not meet him outside of work and that she wanted to keep things pro­fessional, the EEOC said.

Sexual harassment and retaliatory termination of employment violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Blackwater Protection & Detective Agency et al., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-23938-DPG) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree resolving the EEOC’s claims, Blackwater will pay $35,000 to the victim of harassment and retaliatory termination. Blackwater and its successor companies will retain an indepen­dent equal employment opportunity consultant to receive and investigate complaints of sex discrimination, create a hotline to receive anonymous complaints of harassment, and create a sexual harassment policy to address the sexual harassment at issue in this lawsuit. The decree also provides that managers and employ­ees at Blackwater and its successor companies receive in-person training on sexual harassment policies and laws, and that Asdel Vazquez will receive one-on-one in-person training.

“Asdel Vazquez created a sexually charged work environment at Blackwater,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg. “This settlement and targeted relief seek to stop him from creating the same environment at other companies he owns and manages.”

EEOC District Director Michael Farrell added, “This settlement should send a message to owners, corporate officials and upper-level managers who abuse their positions of power within a company. They are not above the laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, and the EEOC will always remain vigilant in its efforts to identify and correct such abuses.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa and San Juan EEOC offices, and has jurisdiction over Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sexual Harassment Forced Women Out at NY Property Mgt. Company, EEOC Alleges in Suit

The sexual harassment at this New York company was so bad it made the victims quit their jobs, according to federal civil rights enforcers.

Birchez Associates, LLC and Rondout Properties Management, LLC, Kingston, N.Y.-based housing development and property management companies, violated federal law when they subjected female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed July 10.

According to the EEOC’s suit, the owner and top management official of the companies repeatedly subjected female employees to crude sexual comments. He frequently yelled at his female employees and used obscene sexist epithets. The harassment also involved unwelcome physical contact and subjecting a female employee to pornography on a cell phone. Despite repeated objections by female employees, the conduct did not stop, forcing a number of women to resign their employment in order to escape the harassment.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex, including subjecting employees a hostile work environment based on sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (EEOC v. Birchez Associates LLC and Rondout Properties Management, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:19-cv-00810) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC will seek back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. The agency’s litigation effort will be led by trial attorney Sebastian Riccardi, supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Justin Mulaire.

“Employees have a right to work in an environment free of harassment,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “Sexual harassment is against the law; it is well past the day when employers can tolerate this type of conduct.”

Riccardi said, “It does not matter if it is the owner of the company who is the harasser. Nobody is above the law.”

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry added, “Employees who stand up to harassment and discrimination in the workplace are heroes, and the EEOC will take action to enforce the law when egregious violations are discovered.”

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.

Plastics Co. Sued for Hostile Work Environment

Firing an employee for filing a harassment complaint only compounds the employer’s legal mess.

Element Plastics Mfg., LLC, a plastics manufacturer based in Sugar Land, Texas, violated federal law by creating a hostile work environment which resulted in the sexual harassment of a female employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed on June 20th. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the employee was subsequently fired in retaliation for complaining about the abuse, also in violation of federal law.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charges that an Element Plastics employee was subjected to sexual comments, unwelcome touching and other improper and sexually hostile conduct by an employee or supervisor of the company beginning in December 2016. Within several weeks of her complaining about the harassment to her direct supervisor and a manager, the female employee was fired on or about April 27, 2017 in retaliation for her complaints.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02218) against Element Plastics Mfg., LLC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks an injunction prohibiting such actions in the future, as well as back pay with pre-judgment interest, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the employee, in amounts to be determined at trial.

“Federal law mandates that employees be free of sexual harassment in the workplace and protected from adverse employment actions as a result of complaining about such behavior,” said Rayford O. Irvin, district director of the EEOC’s Houston District Office. “Such conduct deprives employees of equal employment opportunities and therefore violates Title VII.”

Rudy Sustaita, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Houston, explained, “Sexual harassment in the workplace cannot be tolerated. Further, an employee must have proper recourse for complaining about sexual harassment without fear of losing her job.”

The EEOC’s senior trial attorney in charge of the case, Connie Gatlin, added, “Title VII protects employees from sexually abusive and hostile working environments. Allowing sexual harassment to flourish unchecked and punishing an employee for complaining about it constitutes workplace dis­crimination.”

According to the Texas Secretary of State, Element Plastics Mfg., LLC is a manufacturing company in existence since January 2015.

The EEOC’s Houston District Office is located on the sixth floor of the Leland Federal Building at 1919 Smith St. in Houston.