U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Female Sales Consultant Was Subjected to Unwelcome Sexual Comments and Groping By Female Co-Worker, Federal Agency Charged
WILMINGTON, N.C. - ABC Phones of North Carolina, dba A Wireless, a Greenville, N.C., corporation, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit filed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, in 2013, Fredarika Bowden was sexually harassed by a female co-worker during her employment with A Wireless. Bowden worked as a sales consultant at the company's store in Lumberton, N.C. The suit charged that the harassment included inappropriate touching and sexual comments. EEOC's complaint further claimed that although much of the offensive conduct was witnessed by a member of management and Bowden reported the harassment to management several times, the company failed to promptly stop the harassment.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. ABC Phones of North Carolina dba A Wireless; Civil Action No. 7:16-cv-00051) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division in March 2016 after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to paying Bowden $50,000 in monetary relief, A Wireless also agreed to conduct employee training, post a notice regarding the company's obligations under Title VII, and agreed to other injunctive relief in the consent decree settling the lawsuit.
"Sexual harassment is illegal, regardless of whether the harasser is the same or the opposite gender as the victim," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "When employees report a manager's or co-worker's inappropriate behavior, employers must immediately investigate the claims and take steps to stop the misconduct."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.