Unlawful Harassment Reminder

Posted by Graniterock on Mar 18, 2015

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced a settlement in an unlawful harassment case the Commission brought against a large operator of Interstate truck stops.  The complaint by the EEOC charged that female cashiers at a Love’s truck stop in Arizona were sexually harassed by customers stopping for fuel.  According to the complaint, the offending truck drivers made crude and suggestive comments to the cashiers, pressed for personal information, and engaged in other unwelcomed conduct.   

The cashiers complained to their managers about the harassment, but nothing was done.  They were told “that’s just how that driver is” and to “deal with it.”  Love’s agreed to pay a fine of $70,000 and to make management changes to settle the suit.  The possibility exists that the cashiers can file their own separate civil complaint for damages. The case is a good reminder that unlawful harassment is not limited to conduct of employees.  “Employers are liable for the harassment of their workers by non-employees on their property, when they knew or should have known about the harassment and failed to take corrective action,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the Phoenix District Office, which originated the legal action. “This settlement agreement sends a message to Love’s and other companies that they must promptly address the harassment of employees by their customers.”

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