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Fry’s pays $2.3 million to settle harassment complaint

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Fry’s Electronics, which operates 17 stores in California, will pay $2.3 million to settle sexual harassment and retaliation complaints arising from incidents at a store in Washington. The EEOC had charged the company with tolerating harassment of a young salesperson and firing a supervisor for standing up for her.

On a per-claimant basis, the case resulted in one of the largest settlements the EEOC has ever negotiated.

According to the complaint, a Fry’s manager harassed a young woman who worked for him by frequently sending her sexually charged text messages and inviting her to his house to drink. Fry’s fired a different manager after she reported the harassment to the company’s legal department. The fired manager filed a complaint with the EEOC, and the harassed employee later joined the lawsuit.

The judge overseeing the settlement was less than pleased with Fry’s courthouse conduct. The settlement includes “court-ordered sanctions including a penalty of $100,000 due to Fry’s abusive discovery tactics which included destroying relevant evidence, wrongfully withholding evidence, and filing frivolous motions.”

Note: Employers must train supervisors to investigate harassment complaints, not retaliate against those who play by the rules. One assistant manager sexting an employee mushroomed into a multimillion-dollar lawsuit and all the legal fees that go with that—not a sound business move.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Keith Tran December 12, 2012 at 12:03 pm

As a former Fry’s employee, I am not shocked by the cover up tactic that Fry’s employ. Fry’s don’t care about there employees. Since the three years I had been there about one hundred employees either got fired or quit and that’s not counting the number of seasonal workers they hire during Xmas. They make employees life miserable. They have employees work inconsistent hours. One day you may come to work the evening shift till 12 midnight then have to come to work at 6AM the next morning for the morning shift. Each week your hours are constantly being changed. They make you clean the toilet. They have you stand all day. They make you sell “Fry’s Card” and fire you if you don’t make a quota of 5 a week. I only worked there to get the experience I needed and I quit the moment I got another job.

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