U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Medical Practice’s Sexual Harassment Evolved into Retaliatory Hostile Environment, Worker Fired, Agency Charges
BALTIMORE – A Towson, Md., gastroenterologic medical care practice violated federal law when it subjected female employees to a sexually hostile and retaliatory environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
In its suit, the EEOC stated that since October 2006, Endoscopic Microsurgery’s owner, Dr. Mark Noar and practice administrator Martin Virga, subjected female employees to frequent unwanted sexual comments, repeatedly asking a female employee to sit on [his] lap, physically touching and grabbing a female worker’s rear end, kissing and blowing on female employees’ necks and other sexually egregious comments and touching. Despite repeated complaints to management, not only did the sexual harassment continue unabated, it evolved into a retaliatory hostile environment. Leave was denied without cause, papers were thrown at female employees, and the unlawful treatment resulted in the termination of one of the female workers.
Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division (Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-02693-RDB), after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The complaint seeks monetary and injunctive relief, including back wages, compensatory and punitive damages, the creation and dissemination of effective anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, training and a posting affirming Endoscopic Microsurgery Associates commitment to maintaining an environment free of sexual harassment and retaliation.
“No employee should have to endure this type of sexually offensive environment to keep a job,” said Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “When high level officials abuse their power and workers lose their livelihood, EEOC will seek all remedies under Title VII to advance the legal right to a workplace free of sexual harassment and retaliation.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the Commission is available at its web site (www.eeoc.gov).