Female Employee Subjected to Unwanted Sexual Touching, Comments by Male Employees, Then Reduced Work Hours for Complaining About Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
RALEIGH, N.C. - Mayflower Seafood of Goldsboro, Inc., violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliating against her after she complained about the harassment and filed criminal charges against the harassers, the agency charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the suit, Liza Hill, who worked as a server/cashier at Mayflower Seafood, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual offensive comments on a regular basis by the male restaurant manager and several male kitchen workers through most of 2013. The suit also alleges the restaurant manager and some of the kitchen workers also touched Hill in a sexual manner. Hill complained to her immediate supervisor about the harassment, but it continued. After Hill filed criminal charges against the restaurant manager and kitchen workers, her hours were reduced and she was ultimately removed from the work schedule. EEOC contends these actions were taken in retaliation for Hill's complaints about the sexual harassment.
This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about discrimination in the workplace. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Western Division (EEOC v. Mayflower Seafood of Goldsboro, Inc. Civil Action No. 5:15-CV-00636-BO) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay as well as compensatory and punitive damages for Hill.
"All workers have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment," said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney of the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. "No one should have to put up with sexual comments or unwanted touching while they are at work. In addition, employers must remember they cannot retaliate against an employee for complaining about sexual harassment."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov