Five Females, Including a Teen, Suffered Repeated Propositioning and Sexual Language, Federal Agency Charged
SALT LAKE CITY — Tim Dahle Imports, doing business as Tim Dahle Nissan of Sandy, Utah, will pay $455,000 and furnish substantial remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged in its suit (Case No. 08-cv-00397-BSJ in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah) that five female employees of Tim Dahle Nissan were subjected to unwelcome sexual comments and conduct, including repeated requests for sexual favors and sexually explicit language in the workplace. Multiple salesmen and sales managers took part in the harassment over a period of several years, the EEOC said, although none of the harassers are currently employed by the dealership. The EEOC also maintained that Tim Dahle Nissan retaliated against one woman by firing her because she complained about the unlawful comments and conduct.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“Sexual harassment is always unacceptable, and it is especially disturbing when the harassers are mistreating a teenager in the workplace, as was the case here,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The EEOC takes its mission to eradicate this misconduct very seriously.”
In addition to paying $455,000 to the five women, the EEOC settlement by consent decree requires the dealership to issue formal apologies to the women and to provide training and other relief aimed at educating its employees about sexual harassment, retaliation and their rights under Title VII.
“Sexual harassment continues to be a problem in the workplace,” said Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “Many of the women involved in this suit were in their teens or early twenties when they worked at the dealership, where sexual harassment seemed to be the norm, and they felt they had no choice but to put up with it.”
EEOC Trial Attorney Valerie Meyer added, “In difficult economic times, employees may be more reluctant to complain about sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs. Employers should take the time to emphasize that sexual harassment and retaliation are illegal and will never be tolerated. We hope that, with the help of such training and other educational efforts, the atmosphere at Tim Dahle Nissan will be different in the future.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque). Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.