Archive for the ‘Sexual Harassment’ Category

Should Sexual Harassment Be a Crime?

September 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Apparently France now thinks so, as reported in the Huffington Post. In fact, sexual harassment can be a crime in the U.S. if it involves a battery, assault or false imprisonment. Times have certainly changed. I can remember the French scoffing at U.S. sexual harassment laws claiming that flirting was the French national pastime. Now that pastime can land them some jail time!

All in an EEOC Week

The EEOC is proud of its lawsuits. I used to be proud of mine too…until I realized thy cause more damage than good…even where there was bad conduct. According to the EEOC’s press release page these are the claims from just one week:

EEOC Sues Owner of Golden LivingCenter – Dartmouth for Disability Discrimination 3/19/12

Agricultural Supplier Olam Settles EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit for $140,000 in Fresno 3/15/12

Warren Tricomi to Pay $30,000 to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit 3/15/12

Hal Leonard to Pay $150,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Charge 3/14/12

Family Video to Pay $70,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit 3/14/12

Sterling and Sterling to Pay $120,000 to Settle EEOC Suit for Retaliation 3/14/12

EEOC Sues GGNSC Administrative Services For Disability Discrimination 3/13/12

Menorah House Settles EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuits 3/12/12

As you can see from the titles, disability and pregnancy leave have been major targets. Employers must do two things to better manage these claims: First, take disability requests and harassment complaints seriously. If you don’t know what to do, then get help. Secondly, get Employment Practices Liability Insurance. See the checklist on HR That Works. I bet every one of the companies sued that didn’t purchase it wishes it had.  Also understand this – these settlements and verdicts are LESS than they would be if brought by private attorneys in state courts.

All in a Month

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

A review of the EEOC’s press release from the 30-day period between December 13 and January 13 reveals the following:

Pepsi to Pay $3.13 Million and Made Major Policy Changes to Resolve EEOC Finding of Nationwide Hiring Discrimination Against African Americans 1/11/12

Family Dollar Stores of Virginia to Pay $45,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit 1/11/12

Matrix L.L.C. Will Pay $450,000 to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuit 1/6/12

DynCorp to Pay $155,000 for Sex-Based Harassment and Retaliation In Iraq 1/6/12

Bank of Albuquerque Discriminated on the Basis of Age and Sex, EEOC Alleges in Lawsuit 1/4/12

Grand Central Partnership Fired Rastafarian for Complaining of Threatened Violence, EEOC Says 1/3/12

RCC Consultants, Inc. Sued for Disability Discrimination 12/29/11

EEOC Sues Midwest ISO for Disability Discrimination 12/23/11

Mesa Systems Sued by EEOC for National Origin Discrimination 12/23/11

American Apparel Agrees to Settle EEOC Disability Bias Suit for $60,000 12/19/11

Jim Robinson Ford-Lincoln-Mercury to Pay $56,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Lawsuit 12/16/11

EEOC Retaliation Case Against Cognis to Proceed, Federal Judge Orders 12/16/11

Wal-Mart to Pay $275,000 to Former Employee Fired after Cancer Surgery 12/16/11

EEOC Launches Small Business Task Force 12/15/11

EEOC Sues Wal-Mart for Disability Discrimination and Retaliation 12/15/11

B&B Pharmacy in Bellflower to Pay $70,000 for Disability Discrimination In EEOC Suit 12/15/11

M. Slavin & Sons to Pay $900,000 to Settle EEOC Discrimination Suit 12/15/11

Vitas Healthcare Sued By EEOC in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit 12/14/11

Dairy Queen Restaurant Sued By EEOC for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation 12/14/11

Federal Court Signs Order for Blockbuster Inc. To Pay Over $2m to Settle EEOC Suit for Sex, Race and National Origin Discrimination, Retaliation 12/14/11

UPS Unit to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit 12/14/11

King Soopers to Pay $80,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit 12/13/11

Bottom line: The EEOC is cranking it up. Make sure you have your disability, discrimination, and sexual harassment training and tools up to date…or you could be the next press release!

Bath & Body Works Pays Employee $70,000 to Settle Sexual Orientation Harassment Case

ELK GROVE, CA — The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) today announced the $70,000 settlement of a workplace sexual orientation harassment case against Limited Brands Store Operations, Inc., and Bath & Body Works, LLC.  A manager of a Bath & Body Works was accused of harassing her co-manager because of his sexual orientation.

The DFEH filed an accusation with the Fair Employment and Housing Commission after investigating a complaint from the co-manager, who began working at Bath & Body Works in August 2007.  The complainant claimed that from his first day on the job, his female supervisor referred to him multiple times a day using slurs based on his sexual orientation, drew pictures of male genitals, which she hung in the store’s back room, told his co-workers that he liked kissing boys, and falsely claimed that his attitude was affecting the work environment.  The Department’s accusation further alleged that, although another store manager witnessed the harassment and the employee complained to the district manager, Bath & Body Works failed to stop the harassment, ultimately forcing the complainant to quit.

“The Department of Fair Employment and Housing takes great pride in leading the enforcement of California’s civil rights laws,” said DFEH Director Phyllis Cheng.  “This compelling case should remind employers that they must have policies in place to prohibit discrimination and harassment against employees—and employ managers who can enforce those policies.”

As part of the $70,000 settlement, Bath & Body Works, LLC agreed to provide discrimination and harassment prevention training to its supervisors and managers, provide training to all new hires within 60 business days of hire, display posters informing employees of their right to report discrimination to the DFEH, and retain copies of all complaints of discrimination and harassment made by employees alleging a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.  Bath & Body Works did not admit to any liability in the agreement to settle.