Class of Female Employees at Music Publisher Endured Physical and Verbal Abuse, Federal Agency Charged
MINNEAPOLIS – Hal Leonard Publishing Company, a music print publishing company founded in Winona, Minn., has agreed to pay $150,000 to a class of female employees to settle a sexual harassment charge brought against the company by a former employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
An investigation by the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office revealed that women were subjected to unwelcome grabbing and squeezing as well as sex-based comments and actions at Hal Leonard’s facility in Winona, a city of 50,000 in southeast Minnesota. The harassment was perpetrated by co-workers and, despite multiple complaints to Hal Leonard management, the misconduct did not cease. Following an investigation of the discrimination charge, the EEOC determined that there was reasonable cause to believe the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“An employer who has a sexual harassment policy on paper but fails to enforce it is placing itself at great risk, said Julie Schmid, acting director of the EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office. “Employers need to take sexual harassment allegations seriously. We are pleased that Hal Leonard worked cooperatively with us to resolve this charge without having to go through protracted litigation.”
In addition to paying a total of $150,000 to a class of victims, Hal Leonard will (1) provide an apology to the former employee who filed the original discrimination charge; (2) conduct annual anti-discrimination training for three years which the EEOC may observe; (3) provide the EEOC with documentation of an accountability provision in performance evaluations of managers, supervisors and lead employees; and (4) provide the EEOC with documentation of all sexual harassment complaints for three years.
The EEOC’s Minneapolis Area Office is part of the Chicago District Office, which has jurisdiction over Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the commission can be found on its website at www.eeoc.gov.