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Survey of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) Cases

by Peter M. LaSorsa

The EEOC in the last ten years has been active in pursuing claims against employers who sexually harass or otherwise discriminate against employees. Below is a survey of the dollar amounts employees have been awarded in cases brought by the EEOC.
In 2007, companies paid more than $65 million in prelitigation EEOC settlements alone.

EEOC v. Parmalat Bakery Division of North America, Defendant, a New Jersey division of an international company headquartered in Italy, was charged wtih sexual harassment, retaliation, and constructive discharge. The complainant was a sales division manager and the only woman in an office of four male executives. She was subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, sexually explicit comments inappropriate touching and the showing of a pornographic video. She was awarded $300,000. Case resolved in 2004.

Kosen v. American Express Financial Advisors, Inc., A group of female financial advisors alleged that American Express Financial Advisors, Inc.engaged in preferential treatment of male advisors in mentoring, promotion, compensation, and work assignments in violation of federal law.

This was a class action lawsuit in which it is alleged that they experienced gender and/or age discrimination including, but are not limited to, career advancement, failure to hire as a Financial Advisor, distribution of leads and accounts, work assignments, promotion. They were awarded $31 million dollars. Case resolved in 2002.

EEOC v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., The EEOC filed a lawsuit against Home Depot alleging sex discrimination. In the lcomplaint it is alleged that a female employee was terminated because of her sex and in retaliation for complaints about a coworker’s offensive comments. She was awarded $100,000. Case resolved in 2005.

EEOC v. Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern. Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern agreed to pay $160,000 to settle sex harassment claims brought by the EEOC on behalf of nine female waitresses at its Metro Center restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. The case was resolved in 2001.