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PRESS RELEASE
2-23-12

Piloto Photo Center Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Owner  Subjected Female Employees to Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Fired Employees  Who Complained, Federal Agency Says

MIAMI – Piloto Photo Center, Inc., a  Miami-based photography studio and photograph processor, violated federal law  when it subjected female employees to sexual and gender-based harassment, and  then fired two employees who complained, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Piloto Photo  Center’s Owner, Carlos  Piloto, subjected female employees to sexual and/or gender based harassment and  fired two employees, including a manager, who opposed the harassing  conduct. The agency said that female  employees were regularly subjected to graphic sexual comments and demeaning  gender-based name calling, including frequent comments about sexual conduct;  the sexual habits of animals; the female anatomy; the male anatomy; and  displays of pornography. At least two  other female employees were subjected to inappropriate touching by Piloto. Two employees complained to Piloto about his  conduct and were fired shortly thereafter, the EEOC charges.

Sexual harassment and retaliation  are forms of discrimination which violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of  1964. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Piloto Photo Center, Inc., Case  No. 1:12-CV-20751-MGC) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of  Florida, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through  its conciliation process. The EEOC is  seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in further  employment discrimination or retaliation, as well as back pay, compensatory  damages and punitive damages.

“Employees have a legal right to be  free of sex harassment and, when it does occur, the right to complain about it  without fear of reprisal,” said Malcolm Medley, district director of the EEOC’s  Miami District Office. “Unfortunately,  sexual harassment remains a problem in our community. The EEOC is committed to ensuring that it does  not happen again at this workplace or in others.”

  EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg added, “The  EEOC stands ready to litigate sexual harassment cases to vindicate the rights  of the victims.”

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

The EEOC Miami District Office is responsible for  processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and litigation  in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  The Miami District Office has a Field Office in Tampa  and a Local Office in San Juan.