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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
9-28-11

EEOC Sues West Jackson Grocer for Sexual Harassment

Manager Harassed Female Employees, Federal Agency Charges

JACKSON, Miss. -- A West Jackson grocery violated federal law by subjecting a class of female employees to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed on September 26, 2011.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit against Venture, Inc., doing business as a Save-A-Lot, a manager repeatedly propositioned female employees for sex, even offering to exchange sex for money and other benefits. The EEOC also alleges that the manager regularly used sexually offensive and degrading language, made graphic comments describing sex acts and engaged in other sexually degrading behavior.

The complaint alleges that other managers knew about the conduct but took no corrective action. The EEOC also contends that some female employees complained about the conduct to management and that management witnessed the behavior.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action 3:11-cv-00596-WHB-LRA) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“Rampant workplace sexual misconduct is a serious and costly problem,” said EEOC Birmingham District Director Delner Franklin-Thomas. “It adversely affects the employees involved and the employer when effective corrective action is not taken.”

C. Emanuel Smith, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, said, “Every employee should be protected from workplace sexual harassment, and that is not accomplished solely by having a written policy.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.