Female Employees Were Sexually Harassed By Senior Management Official, Federal Agency Charged
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - WilcoHess, which operates over 400 travel plazas and convenience stores throughout the United States, will pay $215,000 to settle a class sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC lawsuit charged that David Carter, who was employed by WilcoHess as a district manager, engaged in sexually inappropriate and harassing conduct toward a number of female employees under his supervision at the company's Wendy's restaurant (Store #5901) and Travel Plaza (Store #5501) in Tuscaloosa. The harassment included propositions for sex, leering and sexual touching, the EEOC said. Despite some of the women complaining about the harassment to other managers, nothing was done to discipline or otherwise prevent Carter from continuing to harass his employees for several years.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Western Division (EEOC v. WilcoHess, LLC, 2:10-cv-2628-PG) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
The four-year consent decree resolving the suit provides that the company will put a number of measures in place to prevent similar behavior from happening again. Those measures include training for WilcoHess's managers in preventing and responding to harassment; notices posted in all Alabama WilcoHess locations informing employees about the lawsuit's resolution and their rights under federal anti-discrimination laws; and a court injunction prohibiting harassment and retaliation.
"Sexual harassment is not just bad for workplace morale, it is also a serious violation of federal law," said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. "Tolerating lewd or harassing behavior is not a job requirement and employers must provide a meaningful mechanism for employees to report such misconduct."
EEOC Senior Attorney Marsha Rucker commented, "The EEOC is encouraged that WilcoHess is taking steps to ensure that its Alabama work force will be able to report harassment, and that it will be providing training to all of its employees on their rights and responsibilities under the law."
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.