Court Approves Proposed Settlement in EEOC Suit Against Media Company
MINNEAPOLIS – The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota has approved as final a proposed settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against The Star Tribune Company for more than $300,000 and significant remedial relief, the EEOC announced today. The suit was filed on behalf of female employees at the plant which produces The Star Tribune newspaper, one of the nation’s largest papers.
According to the EEOC’s suit, The Star Tribune created a sexually hostile work environment at its Heritage Production Facility “mail room” for two named women who had filed charges with the EEOC, and a class of similarly situated women. The jobs held by the women involved compiling newspapers and placing inserts into them – a historically male-dominated position. The harassment of the women included vulgar comments, dirty jokes and sex-based statements, the EEOC said in the suit, filed in September 2008 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Civil Action No. 08-cv-5297).
“Sexual harassment remains a persistent problem in the 21st century workplace,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “Employees should never have to endure a sexually hostile work environment in order to earn a paycheck. The EEOC has a long-standing history of filing lawsuits against employers who allow sexual harassment to occur.”
Under the consent decree, recently approved by Judge Ann D. Montgomery, The Star Tribune will pay between $305,000 and $325,000, depending on the number of women who step forward. The monetary allocation applies to female employees in the mail room at the Heritage Production Facility between August 2005 and the present. The EEOC notified the women receiving distributions under the proposed settlement of the amount of the proposed distribution and told them of their right to object to the settlement. There were no objections.
As part of the consent decree, The Star Tribune also agreed to substantial equitable relief to create a discrimination-free workplace going forward. The EEOC shall maintain oversight on the compliance over the decree’s two-year term. The non-monetary relief agreed to by the company includes:
John Hendrickson, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, said. “When the EEOC can reach a settlement that reduces the chance of harassment occurring again, and one where no person receiving relief under the consent decree objects, it is a victory for the EEOC, the employer, and current and former employees.”
According to its web site, www.StarTribune.com, “The Star Tribune is a news and information company serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The Star Tribune newspaper is one of the 20 largest newspapers in the nation,” and its web site is “the most frequently used local news and information service in the Twin Cities market.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov .
This page was last modified on March 26, 2009.
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