Resort Owner Sued for the Second Time by Federal Agency for Harassing Female Employees
SEATTLE -Two resorts located along the Columbia River violated federal law when their owner repeatedly subjected female employees to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the lawsuit, female employees at both Bonneville Hot Springs and Carson Hot Springs Resort and Golf Course faced repeated attempts to get them alone to subject them to lewd sexual comments and propositions, inappropriate touching and groping by owner Perfil Cam. Cam, along with his daughter Marfa Scheratski, owned and managed the two resorts. Despite repeated complaints to various members of human resources and management, the resorts failed to stop the harassment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort, LLC., Case No. 3:19-cv-05409) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks money damages for the female workers and injunctive relief to remedy and prevent sexual harassment from recurring.
This is the agency's second lawsuit involving Bonneville Hot Springs Inc. The earlier lawsuit was settled on behalf of group of female employees for $470,000 in 2008. (EEOC, et. al. v. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. Case No. C07-5321-FDB.)
EEOC Seattle Field Office Director Nancy Sienko said, "The EEOC's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace observes that power disparities can be a risk factor for harassment. The power difference between an owner and his employees is very extreme, making it more intimidating for those workers to speak up about the unwelcomed behavior. We commend these women for reporting harassment internally as well as to the EEOC, and we will defend their rights to work free from such conduct."
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Teri Healy said, "These resorts were two of the largest employers in this rural community. No worker should be forced to choose between earning a living and preserving personal safety and dignity."
Current and former employees who have information about sexual harassment at the resorts or were victims of harassment are encouraged to contact the EEOC. Lead Attorney Healy can be reached at 1-833-779-3986 or through email: BonnevilleCarson@eeoc.gov.
The EEOC's Seattle Field Office has jurisdiction over Eastern Washington.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.