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Lafayette College Agrees To Pay $1 Million To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

'Loss Prevention Supervisor' Physically Assaulted and Verbally Abused Women, Federal Agency Said

PHILADELPHIA – Lafayette  College in Easton, Pa.,  has agreed to pay $1,000,000 and furnish significant remedial  relief to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC  charged in its lawsuit that the college’s supervisor in charge of “loss  prevention” engaged in repeated and unwelcome sexual harassment of five women  in the public safety department. The  supervisor’s abusive treatment included groping female employees and forcibly  kissing them; making lewd comments and gestures regarding sexual activities he wanted  to perform on them; displaying or e-mailing pornography and sexually explicit  materials; and making other crude sexual remarks. One employee was forced to quit because of  the unrelenting harassment, the EEOC said.

Sexual  harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC  attempted to reach a voluntary settlement prior to filing suit in U.S. District  Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Civil Action No. 08-CV-4709).

“No one should have to endure the abuse these  women faced at work,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “This significant settlement shows that the  EEOC will insist on meaningful relief for workers who are victims of  harassment.”

In addition to  the $1 million in monetary relief to the five class members, the two-year  consent decree settling the case also provides substantial equitable relief,  including enjoining Lafayette from engaging in sexual harassment or retaliation. The college will provide annual training for  all managers and supervisors and post a notice regarding the settlement. Lafayette  did not admit liability in the consent decree, which was approved by U.S.  District Court Judge Thomas M. Golden on April 22, 2010.

“Sexual  harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace,” said Acting Regional  Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which  oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware,  West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. “We are pleased that Lafayette College  worked with the EEOC to negotiate a fair settlement resolving this matter. We believe that the equitable relief provided  by the consent decree, and especially the training, will benefit many employees at the college.”

In Fiscal  Year 2009, EEOC received 12,696 charges alleging sexual harassment, accounting for  about 14 percent of the agency’s private sector caseload.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information  about the Commission is available on its web site at