Dollar General facing sexual harassment suit
BALTIMORE — Dollar General violated federal law when it subjected a store manager to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit it announced Sept. 25.
According to the EEOC’s suit, within a week of Dollar General hiring an assistant store manager for its Rock Hall location on May 28, 2016, the store manager began sexually harassing her. He allegedly frequently made crude comments about the assistant store manager’s appearance or sexually charged innuendoes, according to a news release.
The EEOC also charges that the store manager repeatedly subjected the assistant manager to unwelcome touching, including once grabbing her head and forcing it to his crotch while making a sexual innuendo; rubbing her shoulders; and grabbing her and ripping her blouse.
The EEOC said that after the assistant manager complained to Dollar General management, she was transferred to the Chestertown store, which required earlier, less convenient hours and added an hour to her daily commute.
Dollar General allegedly refused to return her to the Rock Hall location and once permitted the alleged harasser to go to the Chestertown store while she was working there, according to the news release.
The EEOC said that the assistant manager was compelled to resign on July 31, 2016, based on Dollar General’s inadequate response to her sexual harassment complaint.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits discrimination based on sex.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dolgencorp, LLC, t/a Dollar General Stores Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02965) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, according to the news release.
“No one should be forced to endure sexually of fensive comments or unwelcome physical touching to earn a living. The EEOC stands ready to protect workers from this kind of misconduct, including litigation if necessary, if employers allow managers to abuse employees in this way,” EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a prepared statement.
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Jamie R. Williamson added: “As the #MeToo movement has demonstrated, far too many women are subjected to sexual harassment at work. The EEOC is committed to preventing sexual harassment and recently reconvened its Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.”
The task force’s report, issued in June 2016, provides employers with detailed recommendations on preventing harassment, including recommendations regarding leadership, accountability, policies and procedures, training and developing a sense of collective responsibility.
The EEOC’s Baltimore field office is one of four offices in the EEOC Philadelphia district office, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Mar yland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia district office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.