Jerseyville Elks Lodge Sued By EEOC For Retaliation and Sexual Harassment
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a federal lawsuit against Elks Lodge No. 954 in Jerseyville, accusing the group of violating federal law by sexually harassing three female bartenders and then taking reprisals against them when they complained, also known as retaliation. The EEOC alleges Vicki Vickers, Elizabeth Stemm and Jackie Davidson were subjected to unlawful sexual harassment by three members of the Elks' board of trustees on numerous occasions while working at the lodge in 2005 and 2006.
The EEOC alleges Joe Ritter, Allen Dunham and Dennis Prough, had unwelcome sexual advances and touching, as well as sexually explicit comments directed at the three women. The lawsuit contends that after the victims complained about the conduct, their work hours were cut, they were assigned the least desirable shifts, and they were subjected to threats and other abusive verbal comments--retaliation. Davidson was terminated, and the environment became so hostile that Vickers was compelled to resign, the suit alleges.
"Employers have an absolute duty to prevent their employees from becoming the object of sexual abuse by people who are in a position of authority," said James R. Neely Jr., district director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office