$255,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Potato Wholesaler, Training Ordered

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Question:  Would sexual harassment training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

The Spud Seller, Inc., a potato wholesaler in the  San Luis Valley outside of Monte Vista, Colo., has agreed to pay $255,000 and  furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, EEOC v. Spud Seller, Inc. 10-cv-02381-MSK-KLM, a warehouse  supervisor repeatedly harassed female hourly employees, including 10 identified  women who worked as potato sorters.  After  one of the women filed a charge with the EEOC in 2009, the EEOC conducted an  investigation which uncovered more women who alleged sexual harassment.  The women, who worked for the company at  different times, alleged their supervisor made sexual comments, groped and touched  them, exposed himself and solicited sexual acts over a period from June 2004  through 2010.  The first complaint about  his conduct was brought to management in June 2004.  The supervisor was eventually fired by Spud  Seller in 2012.

Sexual harassment, and an employer's failure to stop sexual  harassment about which it knew or should have known, violate Title VII of the  Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed  suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief to the employees, the  three-year decree settling the suit enjoins Spud Seller from engaging in  harassment on the basis of sex.  Spud  Seller has agreed to train its current and future managers and employees on  anti-discrimination laws and to post notices stating its commitment to  maintaining an environment free of sexual harassment.

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