Company Failed to Stop Harassment of Teen Employee in North Little Rock After Her Complaints, Federal Agency Charged
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Major nationwide retail grocery store chain Kroger Limited Partnership I, Delta Division will pay $42,500 as part of the settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the agency announced today.
EEOC's suit charged that Kroger violated federal anti-discrimination law when it subjected a teenaged employee to sexual harassment and failed to take effective action to prevent such abuse of the employee by a male co-worker. EEOC said the harassment began shortly after the teen's hire and continued throughout her employment, with Kroger taking no corrective action against the harasser until her final complaint.
EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The Kroger Company and Kroger Limited Partnership I, d/b/a Kroger, Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-00564-JLH) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to requiring the company to pay monetary damages to the former employee, the consent decree resolving the case mandates that Kroger redistribute its sexual harassment policy to all employees at its North Little Rock location, as well as train its managers at that location on sexual harassment, to include the responsibilities of supervisors once a report of sexual harassment is made.
"Employees - especially very young and vulnerable employees such as in this case -- should be able to report to work without fear of sexual harassment," said Faye A. Williams, regional attorney of EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. "Further, companies must respond appropriately when an employee makes a complaint of sexual harassment. The parties in the case worked in good faith to resolve this matter, and the Commission is pleased with the resolution."
EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work website (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/), which provides information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination. The website also contains curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities in the workforce.
EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov .