Consent Decree Also Provides Injunctive Relief and Outside Monitoring of Entertainment Giant
LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced an $875,000 settlement of an employment discrimination lawsuit against Technicolor Videocassette, Inc. (TVI) at its Camarillo, Calif., video/DVD processing plant, on behalf of a class of women who alleged they were subjected to serious, mostly verbal, sexual harassment and to retaliation. TVI is the leading global supplier and distributor of DVDs, CDs, and video cassettes.
In addition to the monetary relief for 18 current and former female employees - half of whom are Hispanic with limited English proficiency - TVI, which did not admit liability, has also agreed to make wide-ranging institutional changes that include semi-annual EEO training for managers and employees. Moreover, the company has committed to outside monitoring of its employment practices for the duration of the Consent Decree - a period of up to three years.
"We commend TVI for working cooperatively with us to fashion a constructive settlement that will prevent future discrimination," said Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "This agreement sends a positive signal to employers in the entertainment industry and all industries that the EEOC is committed to working amicably to craft forward-thinking solutions to workplace problems."
The Consent Decree, which is subject to final court approval, ends an EEOC lawsuit against TVI filed in August 2001 in Federal District Court for the Central District of California.
The EEOC's suit charged that four individuals, and a class of similarly situated women, were subjected to repeated incidents of sexual harassment by male co-workers and supervisors at TVI since their employment began in 1989. The women worked in various departments duplicating videotapes.
According to the suit, filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC alleges that the harassment included unwelcome derogatory comments regarding female anatomy, pictures and cartoons depicting sexual activity, obscene and vulgar language and gestures, and physical touching. The women assert that when they sought to end the abuse, the company retaliated against them with demotion, loss of wages, further harassment, disciplinary action and discharge.
Olophius Perry, Director of the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, which investigated the initial charges, said: "This settlement is a win for all sides and will promote a positive workplace at TVI's Camarillo facility. The EEOC will continue to maintain a vigilant presence in Southern California to ensure that female employees can work in an environment free of demeaning, hostile or abusive conduct."
Anna Y. Park, Regional Attorney of the Agency's Los Angeles office and lead negotiator in the case, said: "It is imperative that companies in the entertainment industry implement policies and procedures to prevent discrimination in the workplace. We hope other employers in the industry commit to fostering a work environment free from hostility towards women."
Dana Banks, a TVI spokesperson, said: "From the time that the charges were filed with the EEOC, TVI made it clear that its primary objective was to work with the EEOC to emphasize continuous improvements in Camarillo' s work environment rather than litigate what had occurred. This agreement allows us to maintain that focus, and to remain committed to fostering equal opportunity and the most positive environment possible for its employees and contract workers at its Camarillo facility."
Four of the claimants were represented by Debora Vierra of the Law Offices of Debora Vierra of Ventura, Calif. TVI was represented by Joel E. Krischer of Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles office.
In addition to enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex and national origin, the EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site www.eeoc.gov.