$160,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Packaging Manufacturer, Training Ordered

Monday, August 8, 2011

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

Rock-Tenn Company, a packaging manufacturer  in Conway, Ark., will pay $160,000 to settle a sexual  harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC), the agency announced.

The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No.  4:08-CV-3127) charged that Rock-Tenn violated federal anti-discrimination law  when it failed to take effective action to prevent the sexual harassment of  female employees by a male co-worker.  Although the company investigated the complaint, the EEOC said the  harassment continued. The EEOC also  contended that one of the women had been forced to resign due to the ongoing  harassment.

Sexual harassment violates Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The  EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

Pamela  B. Dixon, an EEOC trial attorney, added, “Even though Rock-Tenn denied that it  had violated the law, we are pleased that the parties worked cooperatively to  resolve this lawsuit.”

In addition to the monetary relief,  the consent decree settling the suit, approved by U.S. District Judge Brian S.  Miller, enjoins Rock-Tenn from further discriminating against employees at its Conway facility on the  basis of sex. Rock-Tenn will provide  sexual harassment training to all personnel and post a notice reinforcing the  company’s policies on Title VII.  Rock-Tenn will also submit reports to the EEOC for a two-year period  describing any complaints of sexual harassment, the investigation conducted by Rock-Tenn  in response to each complaint and how Rock-Tenn  resolved the complaint. Also, in the  event of a complaint of sexual harassment at the Conway facility, Rock-Tenn will retrain all  of the parties involved in the complaint on the requirements of Title VII with  regard to sexual harassment.

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