Eight former employees of the New York-based Suffolk Laundry Services, Inc. will share a $582,000 settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Adding to the cost of the settlement is the additional cost of defending the lawsuit and the cost of administering a four-year consent decree barring discrimination and providing mandated training on sexual harassment
How many of these settlements do we need to see before employers get it? In this case a manager physically and verbally sexually harassed multiple women who worked at the facility. Over the course of several years, the manager regularly touched them on their buttocks, hips, and backs, forcibly kissed them and made comments about their appearance and body parts. One has to wonder about other violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and often related violations of ADA Title I responsibilities such as an interactive reasonable accommodation program.
“This resolution represents yet another example of EEOC’s efforts to end discriminatory workplace practices against vulnerable workers who often live in the shadows of the economy,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “We are grateful to these women for coming forward and to our partners who helped us resolve this case.”
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 EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). These policies can include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and human trafficking. Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach is another specific SEP priority.
To learn more about EEOC’s strategic plan and enforcement priorities, visit http://www.eeoc.gov/EEOC/plan/sep.cfm.
Click HERE to learn about ReasonableAccommodation.com Title I training for managers and supervisors.