Agency Obtains $30,000 for Waitress Protesting Co-Worker Sexual Harassment
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - Destination Tahoe Hotel, a nationwide hotel/condominium property management corporation which operates The Resort at Squaw Creek near Lake Tahoe, has agreed to pay $30,000 and implement preventive measures to resolve a suit charging sexual harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
The EEOC's suit alleged the company violated federal law when a male co-worker harassed a female food server, conduct that included persistent requests to have a relationship and unwelcome touching. According to the EEOC, the company did not take the employee's complaints seriously, allowed the harassment to continue and retaliated against her by transferring her from her banquet food server position to a part-time bartender position, reducing her seniority, hours and earnings.
Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to prevent and remedy sexual harassment and prohibits retaliation against an employee for reporting harassment. After an investigation and first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. Destination Resorts & Hotels, Inc., Civ. No.12-CV-00278-LKK) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Under the consent decree settling the lawsuit, Destination will pay the former employee $30,000 and agreed to revise its handbook regarding discriminatory harassment, provide annual training to all managers and supervisors and report any complaints of sexual harassment or retaliation to the EEOC.
"When complaints are not met with an immediate and thorough response, an employee can conclude that a safe workplace is not a priority for management," said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. "The revised policies agreed to in this settlement are an important tool to help ensure a workplace free from discrimination."
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado said, "Effective training is critical to ensure that supervisors and managers understand their responsibility to respond to complaints of harassment and to avoid actions that can be construed as retaliation."
Baldonado said retaliation is the most frequently filed charge with the EEOC, which made up more than 38% of all charges filed with the agency in fiscal year 2012. Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.