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EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Claiming Sexual Harassment Victims Were Forced To Quit Settles

Woman Defending Herself From Sexual Harassment By Boss

In a press release issued on December 10, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree resolving a sexual harassment lawsuit against Protocol of Amherst, Inc., d/b/a Protocol Restaurant (Protocol). On May 9, 2019, the EEOC filed the case, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Protocol of Amherst, Inc., d/b/a Protocol Restaurant, Case No. 1:19-cv-598, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. Before initiating the lawsuit, the EEOC initially endeavored to secure a pre-litigation settlement through its statutorily mandated conciliation process. Voluntary conciliation efforts having failed, the EEOC exercised its right under federal law to correct the alleged unlawful discriminatory practices through litigation.

In the Consent Decree, which was endorsed by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo on December 9, 2020, Protocol agreed to pay $90,000 to resolve the sexual harassment lawsuit. In this article, our Ocala, Florida lawyers for sexual harassment victims explain the EEOC’s allegations of unlawful sexual harassment against Protocol.

Legal Protection Against Sexual Harassment

The EEOC filed the sexual harassment lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) on behalf of Laurie Cavalier (Cavalier) and other former employees of Protocol. Title VII, which is the foundation of the federal government’s efforts to eliminate discriminatory employment practices in the American workplace, protects employees from discrimination on the basis of gender. Under United States Supreme Court precedent, sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination forbidden by Title VII. Title VII makes sexual harassment which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile work environment an unlawful discriminatory employment practice. Title VII also protects employees from retaliation when they oppose perceived sexual harassment in the workplace, including when employees reject or refuse to submit to a supervisor’s sexual advances.

The EEOC claims that Protocol violated Title VII by subjecting Cavalier and other female employees to hostile work environment sexual harassment. The EEOC further claims Cavalier and other female employees were constructively discharged in violation of Title VII when they were involuntarily forced to resign their employment because of the hostile work environment sexual harassment.

Alleged Sexual Hostile Work Environment

Protocol operates a restaurant in Amherst, New York. Cavalier worked as a bartender for Protocol from October 2017 until May 2018. Throughout her employment, according to the EEOC, Cavalier and other female employees were subjected to a sustained campaign of unwanted sexually harassing behavior by Protocol’s owner. The owner’s alleged verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature toward Cavalier and other female employees included: sexual touching, such as touching female employees’ buttocks and kissing female employees on the lips; physical touching, such as touching female employees on the waist, shoulders, and lower back; sexual propositions, such as asking female employees to have sex with him; telling female employees to dress “sexier” for work; making comments about the breasts and buttocks of female employees; and displaying pornography in his office in view of employees.

Sexual Harassment Victims Forced To Quit

The EEOC claims that Cavalier and other alleged sexual harassment victims who opposed or rejected the owner’s sexual advances were retaliated against by being given fewer hours and less desirable work assignments. The EEOC further claims that because Protocol created and maintained a sexual hostile work environment in violation of Title VII, Cavalier and other alleged sexual harassment victims were forced to quit in order to escape the sexual hostile work environment. For example, a hostess resigned in 2018 because she could no longer endure the owner’s sexually harassing behavior. Similarly, a server quit in 2017 because of the hostile work environment created by the owner. While a bartender/server quit in 2018 because of the owner’s verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Lawyers For Sexual Harassment Victims

The EEOC is the administrative agency of the United States responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal employment and labor laws making sexual harassment an unlawful employment practice. As part of its Congressional mandate to enforce the federal employment and labor laws, the EEOC files lawsuits on behalf of employees who have been required to work in a sexual hostile work environment. In a press release issued by the EEOC on December 10, 2020 regarding the case, the Director of the EEOC’s New York District Office, Judy Keenan, explained that “no one should be forced to endure sexual advances or inappropriate physical contact to earn a living.” “The EEOC is committed to ensuring,” Ms. Keenan added, “that all workers are free from sexual harassment on the job.”

Sexual Harassment Lawyers In Ocala, FL

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing employees throughout Central Florida, our Marion County, Florida attorneys for sexual harassment victims have represented sexual harassment victims for more than two decades. If you have endured sexual harassment on the job or have questions about your legal rights as a sexual harassment victim, please contact our office for a free consultation with our Ocala, Florida lawyers for sexual harassment victims. Our employee rights law firm takes 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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