$192,500 Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Church and Dioceses, Training Ordered

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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

Grace Episcopal Church of Whitestone, Inc., a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, will pay $192,500 to settle a sex harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In the lawsuit, the EEOC had charged that an interim rector at Grace Church in Whitestone, N.Y., subjected a secretary and a sexton to unwelcome advances, sexual remarks and touching, including grabbing their breasts and kissing them.  The secretary was fired after she rebuffed the sexual advances, the EEOC's lawsuit said.

Sexual harassment and firing an employee for opposing harassment violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed its lawsuit, Civil Action No. 06-CV-05302, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $192,000 in damages to be paid to the two women, the three-year consent decree resolving the case includes injunctive relief prohibiting Grace Church and the diocese from engaging in sex harassment or retaliation; providing church and diocese employees and all churches within the diocese with copies of revised policies on sexual harassment; reporting sex harassment complaints received by Grace Church or the diocese to the EEOC; posting a notice about the EEOC and the lawsuit at the church; and anti-discrimination training for employees.

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