Press Release 12-21-2020

Nature’s Medicines and Amma Investment Group Will Pay $175,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

Medical Marijuana Retailer Sexually Harassed Workers, Federal Agency Charged

BALTIMORE – Maryland Health Management, LLC, doing business as Nature’s Medicines, and AMMA Investment Group, LLC, will pay $175,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. Nature’s Medicines is a retail distributor of medical cannabis products. AMMA Investment Group, LLC, performed business operations, including human resources and payroll functions, for Nature’s Medicines.

According to the suit, the general manager of the Nature’s Medicines facility in Ellicott City, Md., subjected patient service providers to a sexually hostile work environment. Patient service pro­viders stock display cases, provide customer service, and ring up sales. The EEOC charged that the harassment in­cluded unwelcome touching, highly offensive sexual comments to and about staff and customers and showing an employee a nude picture on his phone, and that the harassment continued after employees complained.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. AMMA Investment Group, LLC and Maryland Health Management, LLC, d/b/a Nature’s Medicines, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-02786-DKC) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process.

In addition to the $175,000 in monetary relief to the six class members, the three-year consent decree settling the suit enjoins Nature’s Medicines and Amma Investment Group from engaging in sex-based harassment or retaliation in the future. Nature’s Medicines and Amma Investment Group must provide training on federal anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on preventing sex-based harassment, and implement and disseminate an anti-discrimination policy. Nature’s Medicines and Amma Investment Group must also report to the EEOC on how they handle any future complaints of sex-based discrimination and post a notice in their workplace about the settlement.

"We commend Nature’s Medicines and AMMA Investment Group for working to resolve this matter amicably and expeditiously,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “In addition to the monetary relief, this settlement contains important policy, training and reporting requirements designed to protect workers from unlawful harassment.”

EEOC Philadelphia District Office Director Jamie R. Williamson added, “All employers, in­cluding those in newer and emerging industries, must be vigilant about their responsibility to protect their employees from harassment. This includes enforcing effective anti-harassment policies and taking appropriate action when receiving complaints.”

Preventing harassment is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

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