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PRESS RELEASE
7-10-09

EEOC FILES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST CARTER BEHAVIOR HEALTH SERVICES

Owner & President of Greenville Mental Health Services Provider Abused Female Employees, Federal Agency Charges

GREENVILLE, N.C. – A Greenville mental health services provider violated federal law when it subjected its female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 4:09-cv-00122-F), filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, asserted that Carter Behavior Health Services, Inc. created and maintained a sexually hostile work environment for Dionne Jiles and other women who worked there. According to EEOC, the company owner and president repeatedly asked Jiles to engage in sexual acts and attempted to kiss her. Additionally, the alleged harasser subjected Jiles and other women to unwelcome sexual comments, offensive touching and other sexually offensive conduct. The total number of employees who were subjected to the sexually hostile work environment has yet to be established.

“Sexual harassment is completely unconscionable and illegal, and the EEOC will continue to fight this kind of misconduct,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru.

The EEOC seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages for Jiles and similarly situated female employees, as well as an injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in sex discrimination and requiring it to take other measures to ensure a workplace free of discrimination for future employees.

“Sexual harassment continues to permeate the American workplace,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Employers must take all steps necessary to ensure that employees have a work environment free from harassment. This is especially true where, as here, the alleged harasser is the president and owner.”

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