Warehouse Manager Harassed Female Workers and Promoted a Culture Condoning Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
NEW HAVEN, Conn.-FYC International Inc., a manufacturer and wholesaler of women's and children's clothing and accessories, created a hostile work environment by allowing its warehouse manager and male employees to sexually harass women in the warehouse, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the lawsuit, the warehouse manager regularly subjected female workers to inappropriate sexual comments, gestures, propositions and physical touching. He also offered several female workers money in exchange for sex. The EEOC charges that the warehouse manager's sexual harassment of the female workers was so well known on the warehouse floor that male workers followed his lead and sexually harassed women by subjecting them to inappropriate sexual comments and gestures. The EEOC also charges that male workers regularly made comments about their sexual conquests and about their female co-workers' bodies. The lawsuit also claims that some male workers had pornographic photographs at their workstations.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed the lawsuit (EEOC v. FYC International Inc., d/b/a FYC Apparel Group, Inc., Case No. 3:14-CV-01414) in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven after first attempting to resolve the matter through its pre-litigation administrative conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary damages, including back pay, compensation for emotional distress and punitive damages. The EEOC also seeks injunctive relief prohibiting any future discrimination by the employer and mandating corrective action.
"When the top manager in the workplace is sexually harassing female employees, it creates an environment that promotes this illegal behavior," said Robert Rose, regional attorney for the EEOC's New York District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Connecticut. "EEOC will vigorously enforce the law to remedy such harassment, particularly when the targets are vulnerable, low-wage workers."
EEOC Trial Attorney Jadhira Rivera said, "The EEOC's suit claims that women at FYC were harassed from all fronts, by the top manager and by male coworkers. Everyone deserves to go to a workplace free of all forms of discrimination, including pervasive sexual harassment."
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC's New York District Office oversees New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and parts of New Jersey. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site at www.eeoc.gov.