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EEOC Lawsuit Alleges Manager’s Sexually Harassing Behavior Was Well-Known Throughout Company

Sexual harassment at work

In a press release issued on June 24, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against James Cars of Hamburg, LLC, d/b/a James Mitsubishi (James Mitsubishi). On June 4, 2020, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. James Cars of Hamburg, LLC, d/b/a James Mitsubishi, Case No. 1:20-cv-00780, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York after initially attempting to address the alleged sexual hostile work environment through its lawfully mandated conciliation process. Unable to reach an acceptable conciliation agreement, the EEOC moved forward with seeking to address the alleged sexual hostile work environment through litigation.

The EEOC has commenced the sexual harassment lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of a former employee of James Mitsubishi, Katelyn Sealy (Sealy). Under Title VII, employees are protected from sexual harassment which has the purpose or effect of altering the conditions of the victim’s employment and creating a sexual hostile work environment. The EEOC claims that James Mitsubishi violated Title VII by requiring Sealy to work in a sexually hostile environment. The EEOC further claims that James Mitsubishi violated Title VII by constructively discharging Sealy because its failure to prevent the sexual harassment from continuing forced Sealy to quit in order to escape the abusive work environment. In this article, our Marion County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations of sexual harassment against James Mitsubishi.

Employee Alleges Sexual Hostile Work Environment

James Mitsubishi is an automotive dealership in Hamburg, New York. From February 2018 until June 2018, Sealy worked at James Mitsubishi as a billing specialist. Throughout her employment, according to the EEOC, Sealy was subjected to a sustained campaign of sexually harassing behavior by the dealership’s General Manager.

The General Manager’s sexual conduct towards Sealy included sexual advances, such as asking Sealy to come to his hotel room, remarking that he was dreaming about Sealy coming to is hotel room and waking up beside him the next morning, propositioning her for sex, and simulating the performance of oral sex on her. The General Manager’s sexual behavior towards Sealy also included making comments about her body and physical appearance, such as remarks about her legs, breasts, and the way she dressed. The General Manager also talked openly and explicitly about his sex life, including discussing specific sex acts and body parts in front of Sealy. The General Manager further engaged in physical conduct of a sexual nature towards Sealy, such as rubbing her shoulders while she sat at a computer.

Employee Forced To Quit Due To Sexual Harassment

The EEOC contends that James Mitsubishi knew that Sealy was being sexually harassed by the General Manager because Sealy’s direct supervisor, who was the dealership’s Equal Employment Officer (EEO Officer) and Vice President of Human Resources (VP of HR), was often present when the General Manager’s sexual behavior towards Sealy occurred. The EEO Officer/VP of HR, according to the EEOC, frequently heard the General Manager make comments about Sealy’s body and clothing. The EEOC further alleges that the EEO Officer/VP of HR laughed when the General Manager simulated the performance of oral sex on Sealy. The EEO Officer/VP of HR also repeatedly asked Sealy, “Is it weird that your boss loves you?” and told Sealy that she should “go with it” to “get free” stuff. The EEOC further contends that Sales Managers “regularly observed” the General Manager subject Sealy to unwanted sexual comments.

Despite upper management’s knowledge that Sealy was being sexually harassed by the General Manager, the EEOC contends that James Mitsubishi “failed to stop the harassment.” The “unceasing” sexual harassment became so intolerable, the EEOC maintains, that Sealy could not go to work any longer and was forced to quit in June 2018. The EEOC claims that because James Mitsubishi failed to take any corrective action “to address and end the harassment” to which Sealy was subjected, Sealy was compelled to resign in order to escape the hostile work environment.

Fighting For Sexual Harassment Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States charged with interpreting and enforcing federal labor laws prohibiting sexual harassment. In enforcing the federal labor laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits against employers who have created and maintained a sexual hostile work environment. In a press release issued on June 24, 2020 regarding the case, a regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office, Jeffrey Burstein, that “employers who are aware of sexual harassment have a legal obligation to quickly end it.” “The EEOC will continue to take legal action against businesses,” Mr. Burstein added, “who fail to protect their employees from unlawful harassment.”

Consult With Ocala, FL Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida sexual harassment attorneys have dedicated their practice to fighting on behalf of sexual harassment victims. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace or have questions about your rights as a sexual harassment victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida sexual harassment lawyers. 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.

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