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Federal courts take a second swing at Prospect

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A federal judge has ordered Chicago-based Prospect Airport Services to implement an anti-harassment program after determining that the company ignored previous court orders issued after it settled an EEOC harassment suit in 2010.

In that case, Prospect—which provides wheelchair services to passengers at airports nationwide—paid a $75,000 settlement to a male employee who claimed he had been persistently harassed by a female co-worker.

The case dates back to 2002, when a woman who worked for Prospect in Las Vegas began aggressively pursuing a male employee whose wife had recently died. When he turned her down, she sent him a semi-nude photo of herself and even recruited co-workers to encourage him to give in to her advances. He complained to a supervisor who laughed off the situation. He quit the job after the harassment turned nasty, with co-workers impugning his sexuality on an almost daily basis.

Prospect settled the case after a protracted legal struggle, but apparently never implemented policies that would prevent future harassment.

The EEOC asked the court for an injunction forcing the company to establish the required procedures, and this summer the court agreed.

Note: Had Prospect properly addressed this situation at the outset, the company would have saved a lot of ill will, time and money. The original harassment occurred in 2002. The employee’s complaints eventually escalated to a federal EEOC lawsuit in 2005. In subsequent years, litigation included an appeal, a jury trial and award and now the cost of opposing the injunction.

Compared to the legal fees Prospect had to shell out, the $75,000 it paid to the employee was minuscule.

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