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PRESS RELEASE
10-21-09

Mental Health Rehab Center to Pay $145,000 to Settle Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit

EEOC Said Women Faced Unlawful Physical and Verbal Sex-Based Conduct

SAN FRANCISCO – California Psychiatric Transitions, Inc. (CPT), a Central Valley mental health rehabilitation center, has agreed to provide $145,000 and take significant remedial measures to settle a federal lawsuit charging that a male supervisor subjected a group of female employees to a pervasive sexually hostile work environment for several years, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC said in the case that the supervisor subjected nine women, who no longer work at CPT, to a constant barrage of crude sexual comments and unwelcome physical touching. Examples of the alleged harassment included boasts about the supervisor’s sexual prowess and activities, frequent remarks about women’s breasts, and derogatory sex-based epithets. The women held various jobs at CPT, including kitchen workers, mental health workers, housekeepers, nurses and activities workers.

According to the EEOC, not only did CPT fail to act on harassment reported to supervisors for eight months, but also the center’s belated response was wholly inadequate. Instead of investigating the allegations or disciplining the harasser, the company simply showed an anti-harassment training video to the work force – and several of the women reported that the harasser was on his telephone during the video. The harassment lasted about five years, according to the EEOC, with an interval of the harassing supervisor’s absence from being fired in 2005 to the time of his rehire about a year later.

Under the settlement, the Delhi, Calif.-based company agreed to pay $145,000 to the female former employees for emotional distress caused by the harassment; update its anti-harassment policies; provide training to the work force and managers on their responsibility to address harassing behavior; and report to the EEOC any harassment complaints that it becomes aware of over thee next three years.

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as state laws. The EEOC filed this suit (EEOC v. California Psychiatric Transitions, Inc., 1:06-cv-01251-OWW-GSA) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California after first attempting to reach a settlement out of court.

EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “CPT failed to adequately train its workforce, and particularly its supervisors and managers, on their responsibility to stop harassment. A situation which could have been prevented was allowed to fester and worsen over a number of years.”

EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado added, “When a company hires – or in this case rehires – an employee knowing that he has been accused of harassment by multiple female coworkers, it has no defense if that worker continues his illegal and offensive conduct.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.