Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’

Staffing Agencies Out $199K in Settlement With EEOC Over Sex Harassment at N.M. Police Unit

Staffing agencies are just as responsible under the law for making sure assigned workers aren’t subjected to discrimination as are the workplaces they are assigned to.

Real Time Staffing Services, Inc., Employment Solutions Manage­ment, Inc., and Employbridge LLC, all doing business under the brand name “Select Staffing” in Albuquerque, will pay $199,500 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Thursday. The EEOC charged that these entities failed to remedy or prevent sexual harassment of female employees who were placed in jobs with the Inspection of Public Records Act Unit of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD-IPR).

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, women employed jointly by APD-IPRA and Select Staffing were forced to endure pervasive and unwelcome conduct based on sex. The EEOC charged that the women were subjected to sexual comments about their bodies and were referred to as “prosti­tutes” and “dumb broads.” The EEOC also alleged that some women were subjected to unwelcome touching and that men threw objects at them to demean them. The EEOC also said that the women reported the treat­ment to both the City of Albuquerque and Select Staffing, but that Select Staffing failed to remedy or prevent sexual harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment.

Senior Judge James A. Parker of the U.S. District Court for New Mexico entered an Order on February 12, 2020 approving the consent decree settling the suit, styled EEOC v. Real Time Staffing Services, LLC, f/k/a Real Time Staffing Services, Inc., and Employment Solutions Management Inc., and Employbridge, LLC f/k/a New Koosharem Corporation, d/b/a Select Staffing, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-0541-JAP-JFR, in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.

The four original complainants, Roberta Archuleta, Tiffani Dix, Barbara Houston and Christella Sanchez, joined in the EEOC’s lawsuit against Select Staffing and also filed their own lawsuit against APD-IPRA and the City of Albuquerque. In May 2019, after investigations by the EEOC and the U.S. Depart­ment of Justice, the City of Albuquerque resolved the claims of sex and race discrimination and retali­ation asserted against it in a $490,000 settlement.

Under the terms of the two and one-half-year decree resolving the EEOC’s lawsuit against Select Staffing, Archuleta, Dix, Houston and Sanchez, along with Kristina Chavez, another aggrieved individ­ual identified by the EEOC, will each receive a portion of the $199,500 settlement. In addition to the mone­tary compensation, the decree enjoins Select Staffing in the future from engaging in employment practices that discriminate based on sex or that retaliate against persons because of their opposition to practices made unlawful by Title VII. The decree also requires Select Staffing to review and revise policies prohibiting sex discrimin­ation, sex harassment and retaliation and to provide training to all employees in New Mexico. Select Staffing will also report to the EEOC on any complaints of discrimination and retali­ation received by Select Staffing during the decree’s term.

“Both employers are responsible for preventing and remedying sexual harassment of emp­loyees,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. “When employers fail to protect victims of sexual harassment, employers will be held responsible. We hope that this case acts as a teaching moment for other employers in New Mexico.”

EEOC’s District Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “We appreciate this employer’s effort to work with the EEOC to develop settlement terms that will provide improvements in policies and procedures. The actions of these women who bravely stepped forward to share the abuse they experienced will lead to safer workplaces for others. Preventing systemic workplace harassment remains at the top of our six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan.”

EEOC: Hotel Management Looked Other Way After Male Inspector Harassed Female Worker

Once management learns sexual harassment it is occurring, it has a legal duty to stop it. Apparently there was breakdown of that process at this Missouri hotel.

Two operators of a DoubleTree hotel in Jefferson City, Mo., violated federal law when they allowed a male room inspector to sexually harass a female housekeeper, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed February 7.

According to the EEOC, Vinca Enterprises, Inc. and Puri Group of Enterprises, Inc. (PGEI), which operate this DoubleTree in Missouri’s capital city, failed to stop the room inspector from regularly making offensive sexual comments and engaging in unwanted physical contact with a female house­keeper.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting it. The EEOC’s suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Vinca Enterprises, Inc. and Puri Group of Enterprises, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:20-cv-04021-NKL) alleges that although management and an owner were aware of the inspector’s unwelcome comments and behavior, Vinca and PGEI failed to investigate or take appropriate action to stop the unlawful harassment and protect the employee.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit after attempting to resolve the case through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief, an order prohibiting future sexual harassment, employee training, and new policies and procedures on sexual harassment.

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is always disturbing,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s Regional Attorney in St. Louis. “But this harassment occurred on a frequent basis and continued even after management and one of the owners knew what was happening. The EEOC is here to defend the rights of sexual harassment victims.”

L. Jack Vasquez, director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office, said, “Management has an obligation to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Companies must realize that offensive and unwelcome sexual comments and conduct are a violation of law.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including sexual harassment. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and a portion of southern Illinois.

Arkansas Chinese Eatery Forks Over $300K in Settlement of EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Young women worked at this Chinese restaurant at their peril.

Pei Wei Asian Diner, LLC, doing business as Pei Wei Fresh Kitchen in Little Rock, will pay $300,000 to former employees as part of a settlement of a sexual harassment and constructive discharge lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the company failed to take action in response to severe and pervasive sexual harassment by the restaurant’s general manager after teens and other young female employees complained about the abuse.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division (now referred to as the Eastern District of Arkansas, Central Division), Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-718,­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the three-year consent decree settling the suit, in addition to the monetary payment, Pei Wei will revise its written policy prohibiting sexual harassment. The company must revise its procedures to ensure that all complaints receive prompt attention by upper management and are thoroughly investigated. Pei Wei must disseminate a copy of its policies and procedures to all employees and will conduct training at its Little Rock location.

“Young women are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment by an older manager,” said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee, and portions of Mississippi. “Title VII ensures that employees can work in an environment free of sexual harassment. The EEOC continues to take sexual harassment complaints very seriously.”

Pamela Dixon, lead attorney on the case, added, “The EEOC appreciates the fact that Pei Wei moved quickly to resolve this matter without protracted litigation and agreed to put measures in place to ensure similar conduct would not be repeated.”

Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the Memphis District Office, encouraged employers to “regularly monitor their workplaces to ensure that employees are not subjected to sexual harassment and that all employees are aware of the avenues by which to complain.”

The original complainant in this lawsuit was also represented by Chad Green of Green & Gillespie in North Little Rock.

$35K Payment Concludes Harassment, Retaliation Lawsuit Against Plastics Maker

Hopefully, this Texas company–and employers elsewhere–get the message that they can’t turn a blind eye to sexual harassment and retaliation.

Element Plastics Mfg., LLC, a plastics manufacturer based in Sugar Land, Texas, has settled a sex harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Tuesday.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Element Plastics violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to a hostile work environment and then firing her in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment.

Specifically, the EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02218) charged that the employee was subjected to sexually harassing comments, unwelcome touching, and other improper and sexually hostile conduct. The EEOC further charged that a few weeks after she complained about the harassment to her direct supervisor and a manager, she was terminated in retaliation for making the complaint.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02218) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Rudy Sustaita, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Houston. “The EEOC will continue to enforce federal law against such discriminatory and illegal misconduct.”

Connie Gatlin, the EEOC’s senior trial attorney in charge of the case, added, “We appreciate that Element Plastics was willing to come to the table to resolve this matter.”

The terms of the agreement were set forth in a consent decree signed and entered by U.S. District Judge David Hittner on Jan. 25. The settlement requires the company to pay $35,000 to compensate the discrimination victim and prohibits Element Plastics from engaging in similar discriminatory conduct in the future. In addition, the company must develop and implement policies and procedures to address illegal discrimination, harassment and retaliation, includ­ing com­plaint procedures and guidelines for investigating complaints of discrimination.

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

Indigestion: Women Victimized Repeatedly at Florida IHOP, EEOC Says as It Settles Lawsuit

The pancakes may be stellar at this IHOP franchise; the treatment of female employees far less so.

Swami Pancake, LLC, a franchise of the IHOP restaurant, agreed to pay $70,000 and provide equitable relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announcedThursday.

The EEOC alleged that the IHOP franchise owner and manager sexually harassed female employees through unwelcome touching, stalking, and sexual comments.  Female servers were repeatedly asked to go out to dinner and groped in a back-storage room and suffered negative changes in their work schedule when they rejected the sexual advances.

The three-year consent decree requires the owner and manager of Swami Pancake, LLC to receive one-on-one training for sexual harassment.  The restaurant must develop and distribute a comprehensive anti-harassment policy to all its employees and provide anti-harassment training. It must also provide an employee hotline phone number operated by a third-party to report complaints.

The restaurant must notify its employees of the settlement, hire an independent EEO Consultant to monitor and investigate any future complaints, and submit reports twice a year to the EEOC.

Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office said, “Sexual harassers that take advantage of their power over employees must be held accountable.  Requiring a third-party employee hotline and an independent EEO Consultant for employees should ensure that the conduct will not reoccur.”

“The EEOC will continue to fight for vulnerable workers, including low-wage earners in the restaurant industry, where sexual harassment continues to be so prevalent,” added Michael Farrell, the director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office.

EEOC Gets $125K Recovery for Harassment, Retaliation Victims at Michigan Pickle Plant

A temporary worker spoke up and as a result sexual harassment is coming to an end at this food processing plant.

Safie Specialty Foods Company, Inc., which pickles vegetables in Chesterfield Township, Mich., will pay $125,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced January 21.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Safie Specialty Foods subjected two female production workers, one of whom was a temporary employee, to a sexually hostile work environment. The women were targets of sexual advances and comments by the lead food processing employee, who is also the husband of a manager at Safie. The temporary employee complained about the harassment to her shift supervisor, who then notified higher-level management and submitted a written report. The allegations of harassment were corroborated by the other victim and a male temporary employee. In response to the complaint, however, Safie fired the shift supervisor, the male temporary employee, and both victims. Then, after the temporary employee filed her discrimination charge, Safie terminated the lead food processor.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Safie Specialty Foods Company, Inc., Case No. 2:18-cv-13270) against Safie in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief to the former employees, the four-year consent decree settling the suit requires Safie to provide annual sexual harassment training to all employees, submit regular reports to the Commission regarding internal sexual harassment complaints and any action taken to address the complaints, and modify the company’s sexual harassment policy and procedure.

“It takes courage for a temporary employee to report sexual harassment by a superior or favorite of management,” said Miles Uhlar, trial attorney for the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office. “The EEOC understands this and will continue to protect the rights of such people, particularly against employers who fire the victim rather than addressing the behavior of the harasser.”

The Detroit Field Office is part of the Indianapolis District Office, which oversees Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio.

Restaurant Settles Harassment Suit For $175K

The kitchen manager at this restaurant was an equal opportunity harasser. It looks like he now been stopped by the law.

Carmel restaurants owned and operated by JCFB, Inc. agreed to pay $175,000 to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed on behalf of male and female kitchen staff, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced January 9.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a male line cook at Porta Bella Restaurant suffered repeated inappropriate grabbing of his private parts by the kitchen manager, cook and chef.  When he reported the conduct to Porta Bella’s owners, they dismissed the behavior and said, “They only play.”  Afterwards, the chef became confrontational, and yelled and hit the line cook, forcing him to quit. The EEOC alleged JCFB failed to adequately investigate or discipline the harassers.

The EEOC also sued on behalf of a female dishwasher employed at Mediterranean Restaurant who endured daily sexual comments and occasional unwanted physical touching by the same kitchen manager that harassed the Porta Bella line cook.  Although she informed another manager of the harassment, the sexual comments continued.

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. JCFB, Inc., Case No. 5:19-CV-0052) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

The three-year consent decree orders JCFB to pay $175,000 to the two former employees and requires the company to provide anti-harassment training to all employees at both restaurants.  In addition, JCFB will hire an external consultant to monitor and investigate any future reports of a hostile work environment.

EEOC San Jose Local Office Director Rosa Salazar said, “We are pleased JCFB will institute effective HR practices for training, investigating and, where appropriate, disciplining its staff to curb harassment at its restaurants.”  She said combatting workplace harassment is a top priority of the EEOC’s 2017-2021 Strategic Enforcement Plan.

EEOC San Francisco Senior Trial Attorney Raymond Cheung said, “No matter whether the unwelcome conduct is verbal or physical and reported by a male or female employee, employers must take charges of harassment seriously. This case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to ensure vulnerable workers in the service industries are protected from a hostile work environment.”

JCFB, Inc. is a private company that operates restaurants in Carmel, California, including Porta Bella and Mediterranean Restaurant.