$155,000 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Big Lots Stores, Inc., Training Ordered

Friday, November 30, 2012

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

Big Lots Stores, Inc., which operates the Big Lots store at 4900 Rogers Ave. in Fort Smith, will pay $155,000 to four claimants and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC's lawsuit charged that the male store manager of the Fort Smith store subjected a class of female employees to sexual harassment, including sexually offensive comments and requests for sexual favors. The lawsuit further charged that after a female employee reported the sexual harassment, Big Lots failed to take the appropriate remedial measures necessary to protect its employees from continued sexual harassment, as the law requires.

Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith Division (EEOC v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., 2:11-CV-02184-PKH) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. 

Besides the monetary relief, the consent decree settling the suit includes:

  • provisions for redistribution of Big Lots' harassment-free environment policy;
  • mandatory anti-discrimination training;
  • notice of the settlement to all Big Lots employees in its Fort Smith store; and
  • requirements that the company report future complaints of sexual harassment to the EEOC for one year.
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