U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Female Sales Consultant Was Subjected to Unwelcome Sexual Comments and Groping by Female Co-Worker, Federal Agency Charges
WILMINGTON, N.C. - ABC Phones of North Carolina, Inc. dba A Wireless, a Greenville, N.C., corporation, violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to EEOC's suit, in 2013, Fredarika Bowden, a sales consultant at the company's store in Lumberton, N.C., was sexually harassed by a female co-worker. The suit charged that the harassment included inappropriate touching and sexual comments. EEOC said that although much of the offensive conduct was witnessed by a member of management, and Bowden also 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 suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. ABC Phones of North Carolina, Inc. d/b/a A Wireless.; Civil Action No. 7:16-cv-00051-H) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay for Bowden along with compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.
"Sexual harassment is illegal, regardless of whether the harasser is female or male, or the same or 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 harassment."
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.