Country Inn Sued By EEOC For Sexual Harassment
The Country Inn hotel is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment. The EEOC alleges the hotel’s management condoned the sexual harassment of several female employees and penalized the women when they complained about the hostile work environment. According to the lawsuit Candace Bland and other female servers including those under 18 were subjected to pervasive sexual harassment by two male coworkers.
According to allegations in the lawsuit, one man dropped his pants in front of the female employees and both male employees repeatedly engaged in offensive and unwelcome touching of female employees, including grabbing their breasts, “humping” against the women, slapping their buttocks and kissing them. Both men also made repeated requests for dates and persistent use of offensive and demeaning language towards the women.
Despite complaints by Bland and other women to the owner and other managers, the employer failed to take prompt measures to stop the harassment and after Bland filed a complaint with the EEOC her hours were cut and she was removed from work for a week. Other women who complained about the hostile work environment also had their hours reduced or the terms of their employment altered. In Illinois this type of conduct is called retaliation.
“It is unacceptable for an employer to punish employees who complain about sexual harassment by reducing their work hours and thereby reducing their income. Retaliation like this has a chilling effect on those who choose to exercise their federally protected rights and is blatantly illegal,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.