Paramount Mailing Company Punished Female Employees for Complaining About Abuse, Federal Agency Charges
LOS ANGELES - Sierra Creative Systems, Inc., a Paramount, Calif.-based printing, mailing and fulfillment company doing business as "Addressers," violated federal law when it failed to prevent and correct the ongoing sexual harassment, sex-based harassment, and retaliation against female employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Sierra Creative Systems subjected female workers to ongoing verbal and physical sex harassment and retaliation at its North Hollywood facility, and such unwelcome conduct continued later at its Paramount facility. Such alleged conduct perpetrated by a supervisor included inappropriately rubbing the backs of female employees while making comments about their underclothes as well as "accidentally" grazing their breasts with his elbows while they were working at the printing machines. In addition to physical harassment, the EEOC charges that female employees were subjected to verbal harassment including being called "whores" or "sluts," being referred to as "cows" and donkeys," and being called useless, stupid and ignorant. The EEOC contends that Sierra Creative Systems failed to adequately respond to these complaints. Those who reported his misconduct were subjected to harassment and retaliation, the EEOC said.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (EEOC v. Sierra Creative Systems, Inc. d/b/a Addressers, Case No. 2:18-cv-05185) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC's suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the complainants and class members as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent Sierra Creative Systems from engaging in future discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
"Employers must take seriously any complaints of sexual harassment by their employees, and take firm steps to stop it right away," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District. Anna Park added, "Employers must also ensure that they do not retaliate against those who come forward with such allegations. When they do so, they're only making a bad situation worse and opening themselves up to further liability."
Rosa Viramontes, district director of the EEOC's Los Angeles District, added, "There is no excuse for sexual harassment in the 21st-century workplace. When employers discover such a situation, they must root it out - not punish the victims."
On Monday, the EEOC reconvened its Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace for a meeting at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. Established in 2015, the task force concluded its work in June 2016 with the final report of its co-chairs, EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum and Commissioner and now-Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. The report includes recommendations and resources regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training, and developing a sense of collective responsibility. Monday's meeting delved into workplace harassment in light of the #MeToo movement, and discussed how employers can and have worked to better prevent and stop harassment.
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is also one of the six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The 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.