Teen Employee Harassed by Manager, Federal Agency Charged
SAN JOSE, Calif. - WirelessComm, a distributor for the Metro PCS cell phone service provider, will pay $97,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a male store manager subjected then-19-year-old Deisy Mora to abuse throughout her employment, including offensive sexual comments and unsolicited texts and photos. Mora's complaints were not addressed and she eventually quit her job when she could no longer endure the harassment.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as state laws. The EEOC filed this suit (EEOC & Mora v. WirelessComm et al Case No. C 11-04796 EJD) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after an investigation conducted by EEOC investigator Rosa Salazar and first attempting to reach voluntary settlement out of court. Mora also intervened in the EEOC's lawsuit as an individual plaintiff represented by private attorneys Jonathan Gettleman and Eric Nelson of Santa Cruz, Calif.
Under the consent decree resolving this lawsuit, WirelessComm has also agreed to hire an equal employment opportunity consultant and a human resources consultant to revise its EEO policies; train the owner and staff regarding anti-discrimination laws; monitor the workplace; respond to any allegations of harassment arising during the pendency of the decree; and report harassment complaints to the EEOC. The court will retain jurisdiction of the decree for three years.
"It is critical for employers to ensure that their managers do not step outside the law," said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo. "Employers should be particularly vigilant in protecting teenagers from discrimination given their vulnerability in the work force."
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, "We are happy that WirelessComm has taken steps to make sure that its employees understand their rights and to create an infrastructure to prevent future harassment."
The EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work website (at www.eeoc.gov/youth) , which presents 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 work force.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.