'Loss Prevention Supervisor' Physically Assaulted and Verbally Abused Women, Federal Agency Said
PHILADELPHIA – Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., has agreed to pay $1,000,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that the college’s supervisor in charge of “loss prevention” engaged in repeated and unwelcome sexual harassment of five women in the public safety department. The supervisor’s abusive treatment included groping female employees and forcibly kissing them; making lewd comments and gestures regarding sexual activities he wanted to perform on them; displaying or e-mailing pornography and sexually explicit materials; and making other crude sexual remarks. One employee was forced to quit because of the unrelenting harassment, the EEOC said.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement prior to filing suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No. 08-CV-4709).
“No one should have to endure the abuse these women faced at work,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “This significant settlement shows that the EEOC will insist on meaningful relief for workers who are victims of harassment.”
In addition to the $1 million in monetary relief to the five class members, the two-year consent decree settling the case also provides substantial equitable relief, including enjoining Lafayette from engaging in sexual harassment or retaliation. The college will provide annual training for all managers and supervisors and post a notice regarding the settlement. Lafayette did not admit liability in the consent decree, which was approved by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Golden on April 22, 2010.
“Sexual harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace,” said Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “We are pleased that Lafayette College worked with the EEOC to negotiate a fair settlement resolving this matter. We believe that the equitable relief provided by the consent decree, and especially the training, will benefit many employees at the college.”
In Fiscal Year 2009, EEOC received 12,696 charges alleging sexual harassment, accounting for about 14 percent of the agency’s private sector caseload.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.