Posts Tagged ‘sexual harassment’

Mopping Up: $315K Settlement Ends EEOC Suit Over Harassment of Women in Cleaning Crew

Let’s hope harassment of women is a thing of the past at this housekeeping company.

HM Solutions, Inc., a Greenville, S.C.-based company that provides commercial and industrial janitorial services, will pay $315,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC), the federal agency announced yesterday. The EEOC charged that HM Solutions violated federal law when it subjected four female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, then later fired the women in retaliation for objecting to the harassment.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the four women worked for HM Solutions at some point from July 2015 through March 2017. They were assigned to a client’s battery recycling facility in Florence, where they performed general housekeeping tasks and cleaned up lead and mercury contam­ination. The EEOC alleged 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 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, the four women were ultimately fired by HM Solutions for not acquies­cing to the sexual harassment or in retaliation for complaining about it.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission v. HM Solutions, Inc.Civil Action No. 4:19-cv-02043-SAL-KDW) in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, Florence Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litiga­tion settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief for the four women, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires HM Solutions to develop an auditing process to assist the corporation with identifying and addressing actual or potential incidents of sexual harassment and retaliation. Under the decree, HM Solutions will also provide annual training to all employees on Title VII, sexual harass­ment and retaliation in the workplace; revise its anti-harassment policy; and provide periodic reports to the EEOC on all employee complaints about sex-based conduct or comments.

“We commend the efforts of HM Solutions in reaching a resolution with EEOC that pro­vides both meaningful monetary relief and important equitable relief,” said Kara G. Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “The company has taken positive steps which will benefit its employees moving forward and emphasize the importance of the federal equal employment opportunity laws.”

EEOC: Line Cook Mistreated at Ga. Restaurant

As Georgia reopens its economy, eventually to include restaurants, let’s hope this bad behavior doesn’t resurface.

A restaurant management company operating Locos Grill & Pub, The Derby, Tavern House, and Central City Tavern brands of restaurants in Georgia violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment and discharging her in retaliation for her complaints about the sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it recently filed.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a male line cook working at the Locos Grill & Pub in Sugar Hill, Ga., made sexual advances toward a female line cook. The male cook made obscene physical displays to her and made indecent propositions, the EEOC said. The female cook reported the sexual harassment to the company. After receiving her complaints, Locos Grill & Pub never again scheduled her for work, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and prohibits employers from firing, demoting, harassing or otherwise retaliating against employees because of complaints of discrimination or harassment. The EEOC filed suit against WRIG Management, LLC (Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-1707-LMM-CCB) 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 the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimina­tion.

“When the company learned of the harassment, it failed to protect its employee or correct the misconduct,” said Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “Instead, it penalized her for exercising her federally protected rights by failing to schedule her for work again. This sort of retaliation is unacceptable as well as unlawful, and the EEOC is here to fight for the rights of the victims of this sort of maltreatment.”

Darrell Graham, district director of the Atlanta office, said, “Employees should not have to face sexual harassment from co-workers, and we at the EEOC will continue to vigorously enforce the feder­ally protected rights of employees to speak out against this kind of abuse in the workplace without fear of retaliation.”

$570K Payment Wraps Up EEOC Harassment Suit On Womens’ Behalf Against Washington Resorts

It was a good Friday for female employees who’d been subjected to sexual harassment at these upper Northwestern resorts.

Two resorts near the Columbia River in Carson, Wash., have agreed to pay $570,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Friday. This is the agency’s second lawsuit and second settlement of sex harassment claims against Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. and its owner.

According to the lawsuit, female employees at both Bonneville Hot Springs and Carson Hot Springs Resort and Golf Course suffered lewd sexual comments and propositions and inappropriate touching and groping by the owner of Bonneville Hot Springs. He and his daughter managed the two resorts. The resorts failed to stop the harassment despite repeated complaints to various members of human resources and management.

Workplace sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (EEOC v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort, LLC., Case No. 3:19-cv-05409).

In addition to providing $570,000 in damages to a group of six former female employees, the five-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides for policies and training to prevent discrimination and harassment, a consultant to investigate any complaints of harassment or retaliation, and individual­ized training for the owner and general manager. Also, the EEOC will review reports and monitor the workplace to ensure compliance with the decree.

The earlier lawsuit secured $470,000 for female Bonneville Hot Springs employees in 2008 based on similar conduct occurring at least since 2004. (EEOC, et. al. v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. Case No. C07-5321-FDB.)

“I cannot recall seeing a pattern of repeated, abusive conduct spanning such a long time period,” said EEOC Seattle Field Office Director Nancy Sienko. “This owner exploited his power over female employees who deserved to work free from harassment. We commend the women who spoke up so that we could take action again.”

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Teri Healy said, “This consent decree creates strong measures to prevent and deter any future employee harassment. And current employees should know they are free to reach out to the EEOC to report any conduct they consider improper.”

The EEOC’s Seattle Field Office has jurisdiction over charges filed in Washington, and can be contacted at 206.220.6884 or 1.800.669.4000.

Roadside Assistance: EEOC Leverages $19K Settlement from Towing Co. in Harassment Suit

It was a “good” Friday for this female employee provided the terms of a settlement of her sexual harassment allegations stick.

Hunter Auto & Wrecker Service, Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina-based towing business, will pay $19,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced Friday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Hunter Auto violated federal law when it subjected a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment.  Between March and August of 2018, a female office employee was subjected to unwelcome and offensive sexual conduct and comments by several male co-workers. Though the female employee complained to company management about the sexual harassment, management did not take effective action to stop the harassment. On August 28, 2018, she resigned as a direct result of the ongoing sexual harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Hunter Auto & Wrecker Service, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-00295-FDW-DCK) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to providing monetary relief for the employee, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit requires Hunter Auto to adopt a written anti-discrimination policy that includes a procedure for investigating employee complaints. The company will also provide annual training to all employees on Title VII and sexual harassment; post a notice concerning its obligations under Title VII; and provide periodic reports to the EEOC on all employee complaints about sex-based conduct or comments.

“Employers have an obligation to eliminate workplace sexual harassment and take every complaint seriously.,” said Kara Haden, acting regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Effective reporting procedures and a willingness to address sexually inappropriate conduct are necessary to create a work environment free of discrimination.”

P.R. Restaurant Was Hotbed of Harassment and Retaliation Against Female Server, EEOC Charges

What allegedly transpired at this restaurant shouldn’t have happened whether offshore or in the continental U.S.

Limeños Corporation, doing business as Ceviche House, violated federal law when an owner and general manager subjected a female server to sexual harassment, retaliated against her when she complained, and made her work conditions so intolerable she was forced to resign, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed Friday.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Ceviche House’s part-owner Marcelo López Mandujano made the restaurant a sexually-charged workplace.  He would regularly discuss sex at work, display nude photos of women, talk about the female employees’ body parts, and refer to female employees as whores.  When a female server complained to management about Mandujano’s sexually offensive behavior, the restaurant failed to stop the harassment-telling her nothing would be done to stop his inappropriate conduct. Mandujano then retaliated against the employee by intensifying the harassment including physical threats against her. As a result of his conduct, the female server was forced to resign.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, and from retaliating against workers who object to such discrimination.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by the statute.

The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (EEOC vs. Limeños Corporation d/b/a Ceviche House, Case No. 3:20-cv-01143), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.  The agency seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the discrimination victim, and injunctive relief.

“The EEOC will fight against employers who allow sexual harassment in the workplace and do nothing after an employee complains about the hostile work environment they experienced,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, which includes Puerto Rico within its jurisdiction.

Michael Farrell, director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said, “The EEOC will not tolerate workplace sexual harassment, especially in the important hospitality industry that employs so many workers in Puerto Rico.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa, and San Juan offices and has jurisdiction over most of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The EEOC’s Miami District employs multiple bilingual investigators who speak English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, French and Portuguese.

Fulfillment Company in Calif. Bails in Sexual Harassment Suit, Settles EEOC Claims for $690K

Sexual harassment isn’t going away quietly in this country. But each time it is eliminated, there is progress.

Sierra Creative Systems, Inc., doing business as Addressers, a Paramount, Calif.-based printing, mailing and fulfillment company, has agreed to pay $690,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced March 3.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged Sierra Creative with subjecting female employees to sexual harassment and retaliation at its North Hollywood facility. The alleged harassment included unwelcome touching, sexual comments and derogatory statements about women. The EEOC further asserted that Sierra Creative failed to adequately respond to complaints of discrimination made against one of its supervisors. In addition, the EEOC alleged that those who complained were denied hours and subjected to retaliatory harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates 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. Sierra Creative Systems, Inc., et al.; Case No. 2:18-cv-05185-PSG-AFM) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to monetary relief, the company agreed to injunctive relief intended to prevent further workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Sierra Creative Systems agreed to: retain an ex­ternal EEO consultant to monitor compliance with Title VII and the consent decree; review and revise policies and procedures; ensure all employees are trained regarding their rights and responsibilities under Title VII; and conduct annual unannounced audits to ensure managers are held accountable and to en­courage emp­loyees to report complaints of discrimination. Additionally, the company agreed to develop a hotline and a centralized tracking system for discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints. The consent decree will remain under the court’s jurisdiction for the decree’s three-year term.

“Sexual harassment remains a persistent problem and we encourage employers to take proactive steps to ensure a workplace free of harassment,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District. “We commend Sierra Creative Systems’ commitment to the Civil Rights Act and the steps it has taken to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace.”

Rosa Viramontes, district director of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, added, “Retaliation can chill a workforce from coming forward and reporting illegal behavior. We commend Sierra Creative Systems for taking the allegations seriously and for resolving this complaint to the benefit of the entire workplace.”

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

In Gear: Harley Davidson Hauled Into Court by the EEOC Over Harassment of Female Manager

Firing an employee for complaining about sexual harassment is about the worse response from an employer.

The owners/operators of Chicago Harley Davidson, in Glenview, Ill., violated federal law by fostering a sexually hostile work environment for a female business manager and then firing her for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed Thursday. The respondent companies are DP Fox Ventures, LLC, Fox Glenview, LLC, and Fox Illinois Staffing, LLC.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the business manager was subjected to constant harassment from other managers and co-workers, including repeated comments about her body; requests to wear more revealing clothing; sexual comments; unwelcome sexual propositions; and receiving sexual images and videos. When the business manager complained to the company, the company fired her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII, which prohibits employers from creating a sexually hostile work environment and prohibits retaliation against employees who complain about harassment. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. DP Fox Ventures, LLC; Fox Glenview, LLC; and Fox Illinois Staffing, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-1436, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“The EEOC takes claims of sexual harassment very seriously and the agency is dedicated to ensuring that women in the workplace are protected from unwelcome sexual comments and propositions at work,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago.

Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, added, “The EEOC will remain vigilant in enforcing the laws prohibiting sexual harassment. We see cases like this too often where employers retaliate against the victim of discrimination rather than taking steps to stop the misconduct.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimin­ation, adminis­trative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.