OKLAHOMA CITY - Pizza Pub, Educominc, LLC, doing business as Pizza Pub, Core Curriculum of America, Inc., Curriculum Solutions, Inc. and Active Learning Academy, Inc. - operating as a joint employer or an integrated enterprise – allowed the sexual harassment of a 17-year-old female worker, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today in federal court. Pizza Pub and the other entities are located in Buffalo, Okla.
According to the EEOC's suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, Civil Action No. CIV-09-1067, the male owner of Pizza Pub allegedly subjected the young female employee to a sexually hostile work environment, including comments about sex, saying he wanted to pour and lick frosting off her body, and rubbing his crotch against her back side. The EEOC says the charging party objected to the behavior, but when it continued she quit her job.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, protects workers from discrimination based upon gender, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“Sexual harassment of teen employees, who are one of the most vulnerable segments of the labor force, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said James Neely, director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office, which is responsible for the agency’s litigation in Oklahoma. "Employers should have in place strong policies to prevent sexual harassment and be especially vigilant about protecting the rights of young workers."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Michelle M. Robertson added, "Employers should be aware that sexual harassment cases involving teens in the workplace are aggressively pursued by the EEOC. It is critically important that youths know they are protected at work by federal discrimination laws."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.