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PRESS RELEASE
12-21-16

South County Support Services & Southwest Transportation Agency Voluntarily Settles EEOC Charge for $90,000

Company Discharged Employee After She Reported Harassment, Federal Agency Charges

FRESNO, Calif. - Caruthers, Calif.-based companies South County Support Services and Southwest Transportation Agency will pay $89,691 and provide other relief to settle a charge of sex discrimination and retaliation filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charge contained allegations that an executive administrative assistant was sexually harassed by her supervisor. The ongoing conduct led the employee to seek and receive a restraining order against the supervisor. The charge further asserts that she was discharged within days of notifying the company of the restraining order. EEOC investigated the allegations and found reasonable cause to believe that South County Support Services was liable for harassment and retaliated against the employee when she provided a copy of the restraining order, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

Without admitting liability, the company agreed to enter into a three-year conciliation agreement with EEOC and the alleged victim, thereby avoiding litigation. Aside from the monetary relief, the company agreed to designate an equal employment opportunity consultant to ensure that the company provides effective training for all employees on Title VII and to revise its current policies. EEOC will monitor compliance with this agreement.

"Under no circumstances is harassment acceptable in the workplace, and employees have the right to report such abuses without fear of reprisal," said Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC's Fresno Local Office. "We commend South County Support Services for working with the EEOC to ensure that employees are protected and encouraged to report harassment in the workplace.

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).

EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.