Jury awards $110,000 to female workers at Texas dry cleaners — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Jury awards $110,000 to female workers at Texas dry cleaners

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A federal jury in Houston has awarded $105,000 to Maria Ruiz, a teenage dry cleaning employee, plus payments of $5,000 to other female employees.

The EEOC filed the suit in July 2007, alleging that Nazar Ali, the owner and manager of a dry cleaning company, sexually harassed the female employees he supervised. According to the EEOC, Ali inappropriately touched Ruiz, made offensive remarks and kept her against her will during a long car ride while graphically describing “his sexual appetites and intent to have sex with her against her will.”

The EEOC further alleged that Ali inappropriately touched his female employees and asked them for sex. The employees said their complaints to Ali’s wife and business partner were ignored.

The jury found that Bellair Cleaners Inc. had violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by sexually harassing Ruiz and the other female employees. The jurors awarded Ruiz $30,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 for punitive damages.

Final note: The EEOC has said that it is stepping up enforcement on behalf of teen employees. For more information on the initiative, go to http://youth.eeoc.gov/.

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