Press Release 04-10-2020

Washington Resorts Pay $570,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Federal Agency Again Obtains Relief for Female Employees Harassed by Owner

SEATTLE - Two resorts near the Columbia River in Carson, Wash., have agreed to pay $570,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. This is the agency's second lawsuit and second settlement of sex harassment claims against Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. and its owner.

According to the lawsuit, female employees at both Bonneville Hot Springs and Carson Hot Springs Resort and Golf Course suffered lewd sexual comments and propositions and inappropriate touching and groping by the owner of Bonneville Hot Springs. He and his daughter managed the two resorts. The resorts failed to stop the harassment despite repeated complaints to various members of human resources and management.

Workplace sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (EEOC v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort, LLC., Case No. 3:19-cv-05409).

In addition to providing $570,000 in damages to a group of six former female employees, the five-year consent decree settling the lawsuit provides for policies and training to prevent discrimination and harassment, a consultant to investigate any complaints of harassment or retaliation, and individual­ized training for the owner and general manager. Also, the EEOC will review reports and monitor the workplace to ensure compliance with the decree.

The earlier lawsuit secured $470,000 for female Bonneville Hot Springs employees in 2008 based on similar conduct occurring at least since 2004. (EEOC, et. al. v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. Case No. C07-5321-FDB.)

"I cannot recall seeing a pattern of repeated, abusive conduct spanning such a long time period," said EEOC Seattle Field Office Director Nancy Sienko. "This owner exploited his power over female employees who deserved to work free from harassment. We commend the women who spoke up so that we could take action again."

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Teri Healy said, "This consent decree creates strong measures to prevent and deter any future employee harassment. And current employees should know they are free to reach out to the EEOC to report any conduct they consider improper."

The EEOC's Seattle Field Office has jurisdiction over charges filed in Washington, and can be contacted at 206.220.6884 or 1.800.669.4000.

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.