ORLANDO, Fla. - O'Reilly Automotive Stores, Inc., doing business as O'Reilly Auto Parts, violated federal law by subjecting a class of female employees at an Orlando, Florida store to sexual harassment, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today. O'Reilly also subjected one of the female employees to retaliation and forced her to quit, the EEOC said.
O'Reilly is a retail distributor of automobile parts headquartered in Springfield, Mo., with over 70,000 employees and over 4,500 stores nationwide.
The EEOC's suit charged that Tracy Leonard Clark, a supervisor, and other male employees subjected female employees at an O'Reilly store in Orlando to a hostile work environment by making sexually charged comments. These remarks included asking women for oral sex and telling them to bend over. Clark grabbed female employees on the buttocks, pinned them to tables, and brushed up against them in stock aisles, the EEOC charged.
Female employees complained about the sexual harassment directly to Clark, store managers and corporate headquarters. When interviewing a female employee about the abuse, O'Reilly managers laughed at her during the interview. Clark and other managers retaliated against female employees for complaining about the harassment. Abusive conduct and retaliation against one of the women increased to the point she was forced to resign, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (Civil Action No. 6:19-cv-00882-GAP-LRH) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"O'Reilly turned its back on its female employees who endured daily sexually abusive conduct and gave harassers an effective green light to continue the harassment and to retaliate against those who complained," said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg. "The EEOC will vindicate the rights of these victims."
EEOC District Director Michael Farrell added, "Employees should not have to choose between enduring abusive sexual conduct or quitting their job. The EEOC seeks to end practices that make this situation possible."
The EEOC's Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa and San Juan EEOC offices, and has jurisdiction over Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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.