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Press Release 09-10-2018

EEOC Sues Foodtown for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Grocery Store  Allowed Manager to Sexually Harass and Then Fire Female Employees Who Resisted  His Advances, Federal Agency Charges

NEW YORK - Foodtown Corp., a supermarket in Elmhurst, N.Y., violated  federal law by maintaining a hostile work environment where two female workers  were sexually harassed by their supervisor and then fired for opposing this misconduct,  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed  today.

According to the EEOC's complaint, two female employees were subjected  to repeated, egregious sexual harassment by their supervisor, a department  manager. This included solicitations for sex, lewd comments about the women's  bodies, and inappropriate touching of their bodies, the complaint alleges. The  women repeatedly rejected the supervisor's advances, and one reported the  harassment to the store manager. Despite this complaint, the harassment continued,  and the supervisor then terminated both employees in retaliation for their  rejection of his unwanted advances, the EEOC charges.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from  discriminating based on sex, and also from retaliating against workers who  object to discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination  prohibited by the statute. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for  the Eastern District of New York (EEOC v. Foodtown Corp., and 82-10 Baxter  Avenue Food Corp. d/b/a Foodtown a/k/a Foodtown of Baxter Avenue, Civil Action  No. 18-cv-5100) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement  through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive  damages for the two employees and injunctive relief. The agency's litigation  effort will be led by Senior Trial Attorney Adela Santos, supervised by  Supervisory Trial Attorney Raechel Adams.

"Federal law gives employees the right to work in an environment free  from sexual harassment," said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC's  New York District Office. "No worker should be forced to endure lewd comments,  propositions for sex, and inappropriate touching just so she can earn a  paycheck."

The EEOC's New York District director, Kevin Berry, added, "Sexual  harassment victims who bring the abuse to the attention of their supervisors  are doing the company a favor and should never be punished for it. The EEOC  will continue to aggressively enforce federal laws against retaliation for  reporting discrimination in the workplace."

The EEOC's New York District Office oversees New York, Northern New  Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and  Maine.

The EEOC  advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting  employment discrimination. More information is available at   Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.