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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
11-21-11

MMS Resources / Merchant Management Systems To Pay $365,000 To Settle EEOC Sex Harassment Suit

Female Employees Subjected to Egregious Sexual Harassment and Retaliation if They Complained About Misconduct, Federal Agency Charges

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  – MMS Resources, Inc., also known as Merchant Management Systems Inc., an  Ashland, Ky., company that processes credit card payments, will pay $365,000 to  settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC=s suit, MMS’s owner and president, Pat Reed, sexually  harassed a class of female employees.  The EEOC contended the quid pro  quo sexual harassment ranged from sexual comments and touching up to and  including coerced sexual intercourse. Reed  also threatened retaliation against the women if they should protest the  harassment, the EEOC charged. The women  were threatened with losing their jobs, raises, promotions or other employment  opportunities in the community, according to the EEOC.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC  v. Merchant Management Systems, Inc.), Civil Action No. 10-cv-00064-HRW) in  U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Northern Division,  after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court through  its conciliation process.

MMS Resources agreed to a two-and-one-half-year consent  decree and to pay $365,000 in compensation to 11 sexual harassment victims. MMS Resources filed for bankruptcy during the  pendency of this lawsuit. Pat Reed  further agreed that should he found or own a business during the duration of  the consent decree, that business will create a sexual harassment policy  prohibiting sexual harassment of employees and institute a training program for  all employees concerning the requirements of Title VII’s prohibition of sexual  harassment in the workplace.

“Employees should be free from  harassment based upon their gender, and those who complain about such misconduct  should not be in fear of losing their jobs,” said Webster N. Smith, district director  of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, which has jurisdiction for Kentucky.

The EEOC is responsible for  enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov.