Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
333 N.W. 3rd Avenue
Ocala, Florida 34475
James P. Tarquin, P.A Call for a FREE Consultation!352-401-7671
Employment Law News As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law news for employees.

EEOC Brings Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Case Against Koelsch Senior Communities

Book with title LGBT Law and gavel

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it has filed a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit against Koelsch Senior Communities, LLC (Koelsch) pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. Prohibited sexual harassment under Title VII is not limited to harassment by members of the opposite sex. Rather, Title VII also prohibits same-sex sexual harassment. Same-sex sexual harassment occurs when both the harasser and the victim are of the same sex.

On September 28, 2018, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, EEOC v. Koelsch Senior Communities, LLC, Case No. 3:18-cv-5792, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. Koelsch provides assisted living and other care facilities for seniors. The EEOC has brought the same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of Rebecca Flores (Flores), a former employee of Koelsch. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Koelsch.

EEOC Allegations Of Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

In the lawsuit, the EEOC claims that Flores was subjected to hostile work environment sexual harassment by a female employee of Koelsch who held the position of Activities Director. According to the EEOC, the Activities Director’s unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature towards Flores began in June 2015 and included seeking foot messages from Flores, requesting that Flores “get on all fours” for a wrestling match, placing Flores in a choke hold, discussing intimate details of her marriage with Flores, and telling Flores that she wanted to “rub her butt.”

In late September 2015, Flores complained to management about the Activities Director’s sexually harassing conduct. The EEOC alleges that Koelsch violated Title VII by failing to take prompt corrective action to prevent the Activities Director’s sexual behavior from recurring. Instead of taking to appropriate corrective action to prevent the harassment from continuing, Koelsch told Flores that the Activities Director would remain employed and that Koelsch would “sure hate to lose” Flores. According to the EEOC, Flores understood this remark to be a “warning not to complain further.”

Despite Flores’ complaint to management, the EEOC contends that the Activities Director continued to sexually harass Flores. The Activities Director’s on-going sexual harassment included rubbing Flores’ breasts on the pretense of cleaning her blouse, joking about “butts,” and remarking that Flores could be a “pole dancer.” Consequently, Flores made another complaint to management about the Activities Director’s sexual behavior in January 2016. According to the EEOC, Koelsch again failed to take prompt remedial action to prevent the sexually harassing behavior from continuing. Because Koelsch failed to prevent the harassment from continuing, and “fearful of complaining further,” Flores resigned her employment on January 18, 2016.

Employers Must Stop Sexual Harassment

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including hostile work environment sexual harassment. The EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of employment discrimination, including victims of same-sex sexual harassment. In a press release regarding the case, the EEOC Seattle Field Director, Nancy Sienko, stated that “[w]hether committed by a female or male against someone who is the same or opposite sex, the law is very clear—employers must take action to stop and prevent sexual harassment.” The EEOC Senior Trial Attorney, Carmen Flores, added that “[a]s we know all too well in the #MeToo era, employers who fail to investigate sexual harassment allegations or make excuses for ‘high value’ workers accused of sexual harassment do so at their own peril.”

Free Consultation With Inverness Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we have almost twenty years of experience representing sexual harassment victims in cases before the EEOC. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment or have questions about your protection against sexual harassment in the workplace, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment attorneys. Our employment and labor law attorneys take sexual harassment cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

Designed and Powered by NextClient

© 2015 - 2022 James P. Tarquin, P.A. All rights reserved.
This Custom WebShop™ attorney website is designed
by NextClient.com.

Contact Form Tab Close Menu