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EEOC Sues Family Dollar Store of Virginia for Sexual Harassment

Store Manager Made Unwanted Advances, Then Reduced Employee’s Hours, Federal Agency Charged 

RICHMOND, Va. – Family Dollar Services, Inc. violated federal law by subjecting one of its female employees to sexual harassment at one of its retail store locations, forcing her to resign from her employment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges in a lawsuit filed today.  The store involved in the lawsuit is located in Richmond, Va.  According to company information, Family Dollar operates approximately 7,000 retail stores throughout 44 states.

According to the lawsuit, from Aug. 18, 2009 through Sept. 5, 2009, Chanele Brown was subjected to sexual harassment by her male store manager.  The EEOC’s complaint states that Brown’s store manager, who was her direct supervisor, groped her and propositioned her for sex.  Brown objected to the store manager’s offensive conduct, the EEOC said, but the manager continued to engage in his unlawful behavior.  The store manager also reduced the number of hours Brown worked for during that time period and told her that she must let the manager come over to her home if she wanted her work hours reinstated.  Brown refused the store manager’s demand and resigned from her employment the next day, according to the complaint.  

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Family Dollar Stores of Virginia, Inc., Civ. Action No. 3:11cv647), in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.  In its suit, the EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory, damages and punitive damages, rightful-place hiring and injunctive relief. 

“Employees should not have to tolerate unwanted sexual conduct as a condition of employment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office which includes the EEOC’s Richmond Local Office, where the charge of discrimination was filed.  “Employees should not feel compelled to quit their jobs to avoid being harassed.  The EEOC will vigorously prosecute employers who allow employees to be sexually harassed.” 

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