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EEOC takes on ‘Cheaters,’ settles harassment case

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

The Dallas-based owners and producers of the “Cheaters” syndicated television show—which highlights cases of sexual infidelity—have agreed to pay $50,000 to settle an EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit.

Among the allegations: Two female office assistants were subjected to sexually explicit remarks and unwelcome touching by the company’s owner and upper-management staff during the duration of their employment. They also endured sexual jokes, propositions for sex and unwelcome aggressive physical advances.

To make matters worse, the women had no one to complain to because their alleged harassers included upper-level managers and the owner of Bobby Goldstein Productions Inc., the show’s production company. The lawsuit said the company had no policies explaining how to report sexual harassment.

A two-year consent decree requires the company to update its employee handbook to include an alternate avenue for making complaints if an employee is uncomfortable reporting conduct through the internal process. The company must also provide annual anti-sexual harassment training to all employees.

Final note: Now is a good time to review your sexual harassment policies if it has been awhile since you created them. See if the reporting process still makes sense—and that employees use it. For example, if you have a phone hotline for receiving reports, but no one ever uses it, why not remove it?

Then implement a new process, let employees know about it and how to use it to lodge complaints.

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