EEOC sues coffee company for firing woman who complained of sexual harassment
In a business Q&A with The Oklahoman, McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Nathan Whatley reviewed a recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in which it claimed a large beverage company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when it failed to stop the sexual harassment of a female employee and then fired her when she complained about the harassment. The federal agency is seeking back pay, reinstatement, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief for the terminated employee.
“The EEOC also is apparently hoping that this lawsuit will serve as a cautionary tale for other employers,” said Whatley. “The regional attorney for the EEOC’s District Office in Charlotte, Lynette A. Barnes, issued the following statement: ‘Employers must remember they are obligated to take prompt remedial action when they learn about sexual harassment in the workplace. This case is also a reminder that a company must not retaliate after receiving a sexual harassment complaint.’”