Telemarketers Harassed by Supervisor, Federal Agency Charged
DALLAS – B&E Industries, doing business as Spirit Stop, will pay $67,500 to two former employees to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. B&E Industries, headquartered in Arlington, Texas, manufactures and then markets customized spirit items for high schools.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No.1:08-CV-00132 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas), B&E Industries subjected female employees to a sexually hostile environment. The EEOC charged that the women were repeatedly subjected to crude and demeaning comments and conduct by the supervisor while working as telemarketers to sell spirit items like team flags, cups and hats. According to the EEOC, the harassment and verbal abuse occurred on the sales floor and in open meetings.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“There is a definite difference between high-pressure sales and harassment,” said Robert Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas Office. “This sales manager subjected these women to rude and derogatory comments because of their gender, which is clearly illegal.”
The two-year consent decree resolving the suit, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings on June 9, provides that the company require employees to attend training on sexual harassment and discrimination on a yearly basis. The decree also requires that B&E Industries hold its supervisors accountable for providing a workplace free from sexual harassment. The company also agreed to reaffirm its policy against discrimination and post a notice about sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.
“EEOC is pleased that these women are being compensated for the humiliating and embarrassing comments they were forced to endure just to earn an honest day's pay,” said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne M. Anderson. “The safeguards put into place in this consent decree should ensure that supervisors at B&E Industries treat their female employees appropriately and with respect."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on June 10, 2009.
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