U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Teenager and Other Female Employees Subjected to Sexual Comments and Touching, Federal Agency Charged
WILMINGTON , N.C. – SKMATCH, Inc., which operates several Subway sandwich shops in and around Wilmington, N.C., violated federal law by subjecting a teenaged female worker and a class of similarly situated female employees to a sexually hostile work environment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s complaint, from around December 2008 through May 7, 2009, the male assistant manager at the Subway store where Helena Miller worked subjected her to repeated sexual comments, sexual propositions and name calling, and sexual touching. At the time of the sexual harassment, Miller was only 18 years old, and the assistant manager who harassed her was ten years older than her. Miller complained to other managers about the sexual harassment, the EEOC said, but no action was taken in response to her complaints. The harassment was so intolerable that Miller was forced to quit her job in order to avoid being harassed.
The EEOC's complaint also alleges that other female employees were victims of sexual harassment by the same assistant manager.
Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Skmatch Inc., d/b/a Subway, Civ. No. 7:10-cv-00187) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Southern Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. In its suit, the EEOC seeks back pay for Miller, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for Miller and the other victims of harassment, and injunctive relief.
“Employers must take prompt action in response to a sexual harassment complaint,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “Companies should have in place a policy that prohibits sexual harassment, as well as a procedure for victims and witnesses to report it, and for the employer to promptly respond and rectify it. The policy should be widely distributed so that employees are aware of these procedures and can report harassment without fear of reprisal. Discrimination in any form will not be tolerated by the EEOC.
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.