The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a major settlement of a discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, Inc. for $1.72 million and significant remedial relief on behalf of three employees in their twenties who were subjected to a pervasive sexually hostile work environment and retaliated against for complaining about it.
The former employees, two young men and one woman, were subjected to widespread and repeated sexual harassment by male and female managers and coworkers at a Lowe’s store in Longview, Wash. The sexually hostile workplace, which endured for more than six months, included physical and verbal abuse which culminated in one instance of sexual assault.
Among the many allegations in the litigation (Civ. No. CV08-331 JCC in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington), the EEOC said the female employee, age 21 at the time, was sexually assaulted by the 44-year-old male store manager in his office.
Prior to the alleged assault, the EEOC said she was implicitly propositioned for sex by the manager related to a recent promotion she received. EEOC asserted that Lowe’s not only failed to take prompt remedial action to stop the sexual harassment, but also fired the three victims in the case.
In addition to the $1,720,000 in monetary relief for the three victims, the three-year consent decree resolving the case requires Lowe’s to provide comprehensive training to management, non-management, and human resources employees in all Washington and Oregon stores.
Employees will be trained on what constitutes harassment and retaliation, and on their obligation not to harass or retaliate against any individual. Managers and supervisors will be trained on what constitutes harassment and retaliation, their obligation to provide a discrimination-free work environment, and their responsibilities if an employee complains about harassment or retaliation, or if they observe it.
Human resources personnel will be trained on what constitutes harassment and retaliation, how to institute policies and practices to correct past discrimination and prevent future occurrences, informing complainants about the outcome of internal investigations, and the steps Lowe’s will take to assure a discrimination-free workplace in the future.
In addition to the comprehensive training and monetary relief, the consent decree requires Lowe’s to revise its sexual harassment and anti-retaliation policies, issue an anti-harassment statement to all employees in Washington and Oregon, revise its method for tracking employee complaints of harassment, and report regularly to the EEOC on harassment and retaliation complaints which arise in Washington and Oregon stores during the term of the decree.
If you or a family member has been subjected to wrongful termination or employment discrimination, then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Wrongful Termination Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.