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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Digest: Sexual Harassment and Disability (June 2018)

DISCOVERING HIDDEN HAWAII TOURS TO PAY $570,000 TO SETTLE EEOC MALE-ON-MALE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SUIT
Company President Sexually Harassed Male Employees for More Than a Decade, Federal Agency Says

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Three related Hawai‘i tour companies — Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Inc., Hawaii Tours and Transporta­tion Inc. and Big Kahuna Luau, Inc. — will pay $570,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment suit filed against the companies by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC filed suit against the three companies in 2017, charging that the male president of Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours engaged in a pattern of sexually harassing male employees, many of whom were subsequently forced to quit as a result of the egregious harassment or were retaliated against for reporting the harassment, thereby violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (EEOC v. Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Inc. et al, Case No: 1:17-cv-00067-DKW-KSC).

As part of the settlement announced today, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree providing $570,000 in damages to a class of male employees. The decree requires that the alleged harasser not have further involvement in the operations and divested of control of the companies. The companies will designate an external equal employment opportunity (EEO) consultant to ensure the companies’ compliance with Title VII and anti-retaliation policies and procedures.

The decree also requires an independent complaint process and impartial investigations, together with a centralized tracking system for harassment and retaliation complaints and provisions holding supervisors, managers and officers of the companies accountable for harassment and retali­ation. Annual training on sexual harassment and retaliation will be provided, especially for the presid­ent and other supervisors and managers, to educate them on their rights and responsibilities on sexual harassment and retaliation with the goal of preventing and deterring any discriminatory practices in the future.

“This settlement sends an unequivocal message that accountability is required regardless of who the alleged harasser is and no one is above the law under Title VII,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, which includes Hawai‘i in its jurisdiction, “The EEOC will continue to relentlessly enforce laws against any sexual harassment in workplaces.”

Glory Gervacio Saure, director of the EEOC’s Honolulu Local Office, added, “Unfortunately, our society still stigmatizes the victims, not the perpetrators, of sexual harassment. Especially in light of the #MeToo movement, it is critical for victims to speak up, despite the stigma, so that we can effect­ively address sexual harassment in the workplace.”

According to the company’s website, www.discoverhiddenhawaiitours.com, Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours provides guided tours of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai.

Individuals who may have experienced sexual harassment or have information pertaining to sexual harassment in connection with employment at Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours should contact the EEOC at 808-541-3133 for more information.

Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).

ST. VINCENT HOSPITAL TO PAY $15,000 TO SETTLE EEOC DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT
Company Refused Transfer as a Reasonable Accommodation, Federal Agency Charged

INDIANAPOLIS – St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center, Inc. will pay $15,000 and furnish other relief to resolve a lawsuit disability discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportun­ity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the hospital violated federal law when it failed to provide its employee with a reasonable accommodation of a transfer to a vacant position for which she was qualified.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, when St. Vincent learned that Latoya Moore’s lifting restrictions caused by her disabilities were indefinite, St. Vincent required Moore to take leave at reduced pay, even though she wanted to continue working. Instead of trans­ferring Moore to vacant positions she was qualified for and could perform, St. Vincent fired her, the EEOC charged.

The EEOC brought the suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual because of disabilities. Under the ADA, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to provide a reasonable accommo­dation to a qualified individual with a disability unless the employer can demonstrate the accommodation would impose an undue hard­ship. Transfer to a vacant position for which the employee is qualified can be a reasonable accommo­dation. The case (EEOC v. St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-3426-RLY-DML) was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division on Sept. 26, 2017.

Under a consent decree settling the suit, entered by the court on May 24, St. Vincent will pay Moore $15,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages. In the future, the hospital will be required to notify employees whose disabilities prevent them from performing the essential functions of their existing positions that reassignment to a vacant position for which they are qualified is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. St. Vincent will also be required to provide training on the ADA’s requirements to appropriate personnel, and submit annual compliance reports to the EEOC during the decree’s two-year term.

“This lawsuit demonstrates that employers should be aware of their obligation to provide a transfer as a reasonable accommodation for employees who are qualified individuals with disabilities,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Kenneth Bird.

The EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and western Ohio, with field offices in Louisville, Cincinnati, and Detroit.

By | 4. Jun 2018 | Recent News | Comments Off on U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Weekly Digest: Sexual Harassment and Disability (June 2018)

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