Federal Agency Charged Sarasota Branch Manager Subjected Women to a Sexually Hostile Work Environment
TAMPA, Fla. – SunTrust Banks, Inc., one of the nation’s largest providers of financial services, violated federal law when a branch manager sexually harassed three female employees at its Sarasota, Fla., Gulf Gate Branch Office location, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s class suit, SunTrust’s branch manager inappropriately touched female employees and made lewd and unwelcomed comments to them about their anatomy, sex life and dating habits. The EEOC alleges that on one occasion, the branch manager suggested that a female financial services representative put on a bathing suit to attract new customers.
The EEOC complaint alleges that the women were offended and intimidated by the harassment. Several women complained to SunTrust management, including SunTrust’s human resources department. SunTrust failed to take appropriate action to properly remedy the situation.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 8:12 cv-1325 33MAP) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, after attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
Atlanta-based SunTrust employs approximately 28,000 people nationwide and operates more than 1,665 branches.
“Under Title VII, employers are responsible for protecting their workers against sexual harassment,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “When these employees attempted to complain to the proper corporate managers about the ongoing unlawful behavior of their branch manager, their complaints were ignored. This is wrong and illegal.”
The EEOC’s Miami District director, Malcolm Medley, added, “The EEOC is committed to ensuring a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. No employee should have to endure sexual harassment in the workplace.”
The Miami District Office’s jurisdiction includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.