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PRESS RELEASE
10-3-11

Guam Pharmaceutical Wholesaler Sued by EOC Sexual Harassment

Federal Agency Says Class of Women Were Propositioned and Touched at MD Wholesale

HAGATNA, Guam – MD Wholesale, Guam and Micronesia’s leading pharmaceutical drug and products wholesaler, violated federal law by subjecting a class of women to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, female employees at MD Wholesale’s facility in Taminung, Guam were the targets of unwelcome propositions and touching of a sexual nature by a management offical since at least 2008. The manager allegedly made unwelcome sexual advances toward female employees, frequently made vulgar sexual remarks, and on several occasions engaged in highly offensive physical touching of a sexual nature. Although the harassment was reported to an assistant manager, MD Wholesale failed to take effective corrective measures. Prior to the filing of the EEOC charge, MD Wholesale had no policy or provisions in place to properly address sexual harassment issues, according to the federal agency.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court, District of Guam (EEOC v. Mariano Prime LLC dba MD Wholesale, Case No. 11-00029) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the class, along with changes to company policies and practices intended to prevent future instances of discrimination at MD Wholesale.

“Employers cannot take a back seat to unwanted harassment in the workplace,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction over Guam. “Workers have the right to a harassment-free working environment, and employers must take appropriate measures to ensure that civil rights abuses cease.”

Timothy Riera, local director for the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, which has jurisdiction over Guam, added, “The EEOC is committed to combating workplace discrimination and harassment in the Pacific. Employers who fail to implement policies and practices to prevent and to address potential issues are placing their companies at risk.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.