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Genesco/Journeys Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment And Retaliation Suit

Albuquerque Shoe Store Harassed Teenaged Female Workers, Federal Agency Charged

ALBUQUERQUE -- A  large national shoe retailer, Genesco, Inc., doing business as Journeys, has  agreed to settle a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $20,000, the agency  announced today. The EEOC had charged  the company with subjecting three teenaged female workers at an Albuquerque  Journeys store to sexual harassment.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC  v. Genesco Inc., d/b/a Journeys, 09-CV-952 WJ/RHS, charged that Genesco  violated federal anti-discrimination laws when it subjected Lauren Torres, who  was 16 at the time, and two other female workers, aged 16 and 19 at the time,  to sexual harassment by an assistant manager.  The EEOC’s suit also alleged that Torres was retaliated against after  complaining about the harassment when her hours were reduced and she was  subjected to retaliatory comments by other Genesco managers.

Sex  discrimination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation for complaining  about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court  for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation  settlement through its conciliation process.

The  case settled with a consent decree, which requires Genesco to provide its  employees in its Albuquerque  stores with anti-discrimination training and notice of the settlement, and to  report other complaints to EEOC for the decree’s duration. Genesco also agreed that it will not rehire  the alleged harassing official and that it will take steps to take compliance  with equal employment opportunity into consideration when evaluating its  managers and determining manager eligibility for bonuses.

“We  are very pleased that Genesco/Journeys agreed to resolve this case,” said  Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “The positive steps that the company has  agreed to take to help prevent sexual harassment and retaliation in its retail  stores are very important measures because of the significant number of teens  and very young adults it employs. Our nation’s youth deserve every opportunity  to work without fear of harassment or retaliation.”

EEOC  Phoenix Deputy Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “Federal law protects a woman’s  right to work without harassment because of her sex. Violations of the law will be met with  rigorous enforcement by our agency, especially when, as here, the victims are  teenagers or very young adults, who are especially vulnerable to mistreatment  by supervisors.”

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