COMPANY FAILED TO STOP CUSTOMER FROM ENGAGING IN “UNWELCOME SEXUAL TOUCHING”
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Houchens Food Group, the owner and operator of “Pic-N-Sav” grocery, which has stores in several states, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim filed by the agency on behalf of a female employee who was subjected to “unwelcome sexual touching by a regular customer to the store for several years.”
Apparently, the employee complained to management about the misconduct, but the latter failed to take corrective action. And even though police had been called (after one incident), and officers had issued a trespass notice to the customer, that individual was still permitted to enter the premises.
Believing that such conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Houchens Food Group, Inc., Case No. 1:21-cv-00408) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. In addition to compensating the employee, the company has agreed to modify its polices and practices to ensure compliance with the law.
In a written statement, Bradley Anderson, district director of EEOC’s Birmingham office, observed, “An employer has a duty to protect its employees from a hostile environment of frequent or serious sexual harassment when it knows of the ongoing harassment ….It is an unacceptable and unlawful practice to ignore complaints and continue to allow such misconduct, even from a customer.”
Now how touching was that?
# # #