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Court approves settlement in EEOC lawsuit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The federal court hearing a sexual harassment and hostile work environment case has agreed to settle the case with a modest payment and extensive EEOC monitoring to prevent further harassment. While the payment was relatively small, the company will now endure regular EEOC visits to check on its progress.

Recent case: According to the EEOC, a male manager at Braun Elec­­tric’s locations in Taft and Bel­­ridge continually subjected female staff to a hostile work environment “infused with explicit sexual comments, ad­­vances and gestures since 2010.”

The manager allegedly made daily grotesque remarks about the sexual fantasies he had regarding his female subordinates, encouraged them to kiss and touch each other’s breasts and asked to commit sexual acts with them. The agency claimed he would repeatedly make various explicit sexual remarks or propositions and make obscene displays.

The EEOC alleged that Braun management largely ignored reports of har­­­­­ass­­ment and discrimination and failed to adequately prevent and correct the misconduct. Ultimately, at least one female employee was forced to quit as a result of the allegedly unchecked hostile work environment.

The EEOC filed a federal lawsuit, and the judge agreed to let the parties settle the case for a payment of $82,500 to the women who filed the complaint.

Braun also agreed to retain an experienced, external equal em­­ployment opportunity monitor to review and revise its existing policies and procedures on discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

It will also provide annual training for all staff on employee rights with respect to gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation and provide additional annual training for supervisory staff on how to adequately address such complaints. The EEOC will monitor compliance with the decree for three years. (EEOC v. Braun Electric, No. 1:12-CV-01592, ED CA, 2014)

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