U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
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.