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PRESS RELEASE
7-21-15

Savannah Toyota to Pay $30,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Federal Agency Says Company Terminated Employee  After She Refused to Have Sex With Supervisor

ATLANTA  - Coastal Motors, Inc., d/b/a Savannah Toyota, will pay $30,000  to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In  October of 2013, Taylor Williams, a woman, was hired to work at Savannah Toyota  as an assistant to Eric Williams, an automobile salesman.  Taylor Williams (no relation) worked at the  dealership, using dealership equipment, contacting dealership customers, and  assisting Eric Williams and the dealership in selling its inventory of new  vehicles.  After just a few weeks of  work, Eric Williams propositioned Taylor Williams, asking her for sexual  favors.  When she refused, he terminated  her by texting to her cell phone, EEOC said.

Such  alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which  prohibits sex discrimination and harassment, including discrimination against  employees for refusing to have sex with their supervisors.  EEOC filed suit on Jan. 21, 2015 in U.S.  District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division (Civil  Action No. 4:15-cv-00014)  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.  The consent decree  settling the suit, in addition to monetary relief for the employee, includes  provisions for equal employment opportunity training, reporting, and  postings. 

Savannah Toyota denied that it  acted unlawfully in making its decision, but agreed to the settlement. As a  result of the settlement, Williams will receive $30,000 and Savannah Toyota has  committed to following the proscriptions of Title VII in the future, to post a  notice of its commitment to anti-discrimination law, and not to retaliate  against any employee who participated in the case in any way.

"Title  VII protects all employees against demands for sex as a condition of their  jobs. The Commission is committed to protecting employees from such  misconduct," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of EEOC's Atlanta  District Office.

According  to Robert Dawkins, EEOC regional attorney in Atlanta, "Despite significant  progress, there are still employers who see employees as sexual  opportunities.  The law is clear:  Employers cannot terminate employees for  rejecting their boss's sexual demands."

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about EEOC is available  on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.