Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is conduct that explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
In a recent ruling by the EEOC, discount retailer Big Lots was found guilty of sexual harassment. The company’s primary offense was not enforcing their anti-harassment policy when they received the initial complaint of sexual harassment. As a result, Big Lots is required to pay $155,000 to a class of female employees that were sexually harassed by a store manager.
The Details of Big Lots Sexual Harassment Case
The sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the Big Lots employees charged that a male supervisor sexually harassed a group of female employees by making sexually offensive comments to them and repeatedly asking them for sexual favors. Moreover, he continually asked one employee to see her breasts. That employee reported her supervisor’s sexual harassment to Big Lots’ corporate office. The manager’s behavior stopped temporarily, but then the unwelcome sexual harassment began again. The employee maintained that under the law the company did not take the necessary steps to protect their employees from continued sexual harassment.
The EEOC’s Findings
Finding that sexual harassment did in fact occur, the EEOC held in favor of the employees. As a result, Big Lots will pay $155,000 to four employees. Additionally, the retailer is required to notify all employees in the store at issue of the outcome of the EEOC’s findings. The company must also divulge to employees what monetary award the harassment victims received.
The EEOC found that simply having a policy in place is not enough to protect employees unless it is enforced; therefore, Big Lots will conduct anti-discrimination training that will be mandatory for all employees to attend. In addition, Big Lots will also be required to report all complaints of sexual harassment to the EEOC for one year.
Thomas More Holland Law Offices Can Assist Victims of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The Philadelphia employment discrimination law firm of Thomas More Holland has long advocated for the fair treatment of workers, regardless of race, gender, age, religion, or disability. We regularly represent employees suffering from sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have experienced discrimination or harassment based on your gender, contact our attorneys for help. Our sexual harassment lawyers maintain offices in Center City Philadelphia and serve clients throughout the United States. Call us today at 215-592-8080 or contact us online. Let our knowledgeable, experienced discrimination team help you fight for the justice you deserve.