Man's Complaints of Abuse Were Ignored, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT – Nationwide optician chain LensCrafters violated federal law by failing to address sexual harassment complaints from a male employee at its Saginaw store about a female co–worker and perpetuating a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
The EEOC's suit charged that LensCrafters subjected a male lab technician, William Sheard, to a sexually hostile work environment Sheard was repeatedly subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, comments, and touching. The co-worker repeatedly touched him, including his private parts; would make lewd sexual comments; would frequently proposition him for sex; and make sexual displays toward him. Sheard complained about this abusive conduct, but his concerns were ignored.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In its suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Case No. 2:09CV12694), the EEOC seeks to recover monetary compensation in the form of back pay, compensatory damages and an injunction to enjoin LensCrafters from ignoring sexual harassment complaints from men and perpetuating a sexually hostile work environment in the future.
"The EEOC is committed to protecting all employees, including men, from being subjected to a sexually hostile work environment," explained EEOC attorney Nedra Campbell. "LensCrafters failed to take seriously the sexual harassment complaints of Mr. Sheard, apparently because he is a man. Federal law protects the civil rights of men as well as women.”
LensCrafters is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mason, Ohio-based Luxottica U.S. Holdings and a part of Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX), an international designer, manufacturer, and distributor of eyewear.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.