Dol­lar Gen­eral fac­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment suit

Sunday Star - - BUSINESS -

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.

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