Operations Manager Used Security Cameras to Ogle Female Subordinate's Breasts, Federal Agency Charged
MINNEAPOLIS - Davis Typewriter Company, a Worthington, Minn., office furniture and office supply company, will be subject to a sweeping federal court injunction and pay $11,000 in emotional-distress damages to a former employee to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The consent decree resolving the case was approved late yesterday by Judge David S. Doty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
The EEOC's lawsuit charged that between March and July 2010, Davis Typewriter's operations manager used the company's security camera system to stream footage of a female former employee's breasts and body onto his office computer. The EEOC's investigation indicated that when the employee learned of her manager's surreptitious surveillance and notified another manager and Davis Typewriter's owner, the company failed to take sufficient steps to correct such behavior or prevent it from occurring again in the future. The agency's lawsuit alleged that as a result of the company's failure to take reasonable measures to correct the harassment or prevent it from happening again, the employee was forced to quit.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Davis Typewriter Company, Civil Action No. 13-cv-02345 (DSD/LIB)) after first attempting to reach a settlement out of court through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief to its former employee, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit establishes an injunction prohibiting Davis Typewriter from permitting the creation of a sexually hostile work environment, and requires it to take prompt corrective action when notified of sexual harassment complaints. Additionally, the injunction requires training on employee rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as training for managers and the ownership on their obligations to promptly investigate reports of sexual harassment. Further, the EEOC will be monitoring Davis Typewriter's receipt of and response to employee harassment complaints for the next two years.
"Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be a prevalent workplace problem," said John Hendrickson, the EEOC regional attorney in Chicago. "The EEOC will continue to work to eradicate these discriminatory workplace conditions. We will be watching Davis Typewriter closely for the next two years to ensure that its promises to take this issue seriously are fulfilled."
The EEOC's legal team in its Minneapolis Area Office conducted the litigation under the management of the agency's Chicago District Office. That office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.