EEOC Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Claiming Harassment Culminated In Sexual Assault
In a press release issued on November 7, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Elite Wireless Group, Inc. (Elite Wireless). On September 29, 2019, the EEOC filed the sexual harassment lawsuit, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Elite Wireless Group, LLC, Case No. 2:19-cv-02187, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process.
The EEOC has brought the sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of an employee of Elite Wireless, who the EEOC refers to as the Charging Party. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. Sexual harassment which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile work environment violates Title VII. In this article, our Ocala, Florida sexual harassment lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Elite Wireless.
EEOC Alleges Sexual Hostile Environment
In March 2017, Elite Wireless hired the Charging Party to work as a sales clerk at its Arden Fair Store in California. The Charing Party was a teenager when hired. In October 2017, the store’s new Store Manager began making sexual advances towards the Charging Party, including asking her to hang out and to hook up with him. In early November 2017, the Charging Party complained to Elite Wireless’ District Manager, who oversaw the Arden Fair Mall store, about the unwanted harassment from the Store Manager.
On November 17, 2019, Elite Wireless held a holiday party which the Charging Party and other staff members attended, including the Store Manager. After the party ended, the Store Manager invited staff members back to a hotel room he had rented. When her co-workers began leaving the Store Manager’s hotel room, the Charging Party texted her boyfriend asking him for a ride home. The last of her co-workers left the hotel room before the Charging Party’s boyfriend arrived to pick her up.
Sexual Harassment Victim Claims Sexual Assault
As soon as they were alone in the hotel room, the Store Manager sexually assaulted the Charging Party. The Charging Party continued fighting off the Store Manager’s assault until she could escape. With the Store Manager in close pursuit, the Charging Party ran out of the hotel and into the parking lot where her boyfriend was waiting. The Charing Party went to the police department the next morning to file a criminal report. The medical examiner found five bruises on her body. The Charging Party called Elite Wireless’ CEO to report the assault after she left the police department.
Despite the Charging Party’s complaint that the Store Manager had sexually assaulted her, Elite Wireless did not immediately separate the Store Manager from the Charging Party. Instead, Elite Wireless told the Charging Party that it could not transfer her attacker because he was the Store Manager, which was also its explanation, later, for transferring the Charging Party to another store. In December 2017, the CEO visited the store where the Charging Party had been transferred and informed her that the company had investigated her sexual harassment complaint but found no evidence to corroborate her allegations. Elite Wireless further asserted that it was not responsible for anything that might have happened to the Charging Party away from the workplace.
EEOC Vindicates Employee Rights
The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including sexual harassment. In enforcing the federal civil rights laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of sexual harassment victims. In a press release issued by the EEOC on November 7, 2019 regarding the case, a Senior Trial Attorney for the EEOC, Debra Smith, explained that “employers should take note [that] acts of harassment need not be committed in the workplace to have consequences there.” “If the conduct began or developed in the workplace,” Ms. Smith pointed out, employers “may be found liable unless [they] take prompt, appropriate, and effective action to address the harassment.”
Consultation With Ocala Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Ocala, Florida sexual harassment attorneys have almost two decades of experience representing sexual harassment victims in cases before the EEOC. If you have been subjected to a sexually hostile work environment or have questions about an employer’s obligation to protect you from sexual harassment outside of the workplace, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida sexual harassment lawyers. Our employment 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.