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EEOC Resolves Sexual Harassment Case Claiming Victims Were Subjected To Demands For Sexual Favors

sexual harassment text on cardboard sign

In a recently issued press release, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC against Sys-Con, LLC (Sys-Con). On September 26, 2018, the EEOC filed the lawsuit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Sys-Con, LLC, Case No. 2:18-cv-837, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama after initially attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process.

The EEOC brought the sexual harassment lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of two former employees of Sys-Con, Josefa Perez (Perez) and Sybelle Colon (Colon). Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination made unlawful by Title VII. The EEOC claims that Perez and Colon were subjected to hostile work environment sexual harassment in violation of Title VII. In this article, our Citrus County, Florida sexual harassment lawyers explain the EEOC’s allegations against Sys-Con and the Consent Decree.

EEOC Allegations Of Sexual Harassment

Sys-Con is a general contractor based in Montgomery, Alabama. Perez and Colon worked at Sys-Con’s worksite at a Hyundai plant in Montgomery. From December 2015 to May 2017, according to the EEOC, Perez and Colon were subjected to unwanted sexually harassing behavior by Sys-Con’s General Manager at the Hyundai plant. The General Manager supervised Perez and Colon on certain shifts.

The EEOC contends that the General Manager’s sexual behavior towards Perez included quid pro quo sexual harassment where the General Manager repeatedly demanded sexual favors from Perez and threatened to fire her and her husband if she did not comply. The EEOC further claims that the General Manager sexually assaulted Perez and then subsequently taunted her at work by asking her if she “liked it.” On multiple occasions while Perez cleaned his office, the General Manager also exposed himself and played pornographic movies on his cell phone.

The EEOC also maintains that the General Manager repeatedly subjected Colon to quid pro quo sexual harassment where the General Manager promised to transfer her to a job working inside with more hours and higher pay if she complied with his sexual demands. As with Perez, the General Manager also threatened to fire Colon and her husband if she refused to submit to his sexual demands. As with Perez, the General Manager also played pornographic movies on his cell phone in the presence of Perez.

The EEOC alleges that while Perez and Colon were being sexually harassed by the General Manager, Sys-Con did not have a sexual harassment policy and did not have a complaint procedure for employees to report sexual harassment. The EEOC further alleges that Sys-Con had never trained supervisors or employees on sexual harassment or how to report sexual harassment in the workplace.

Consent Decree Settling Harassment Lawsuit with Sys-Con

In the Consent Decree settling the lawsuit, which was signed by U.S. District Court Judge William K. Watkins on March 7, 2019, Sys-Con agreed to pay Perez and Colon a total of $70,000 to resolve the sexual harassment case. In the Consent Decree, the EEOC also require Sys-Con to provide training to all non-supervisory employees once per year for a three-year period on employment discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC also required Sys-Con to provide annual training to all supervisory and management employees for a three-year period on employment discrimination and retaliation, including training on best practices for prevention of a sexually hostile work environment, responding to discrimination and retaliation complaints, and investigating discrimination and retaliation complaints.

EEOC Enforces 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 anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC is also authorized by federal law to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual harassment. In a press release issued by the EEOC regarding the case, a Regional Attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, Marsha L. Rucker, stated that “[t]his case demonstrates the EEOC’s commitment to enforce the rights of all workers from sexual harassment.” “No employee should have to consent to sexual activity with a supervisor or tolerate a sexually hostile work environment,” Ms. Rucker added, “to remain employed.”

Free Consultation With Inverness Harassment Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, we 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 at work, 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.

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