Published Date: 04/21/2014
By John Gupton
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Pitre Inc., an Albuquerque, NM car dealership, recently agreed to settle a same-sex sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed against it by the EEOC. In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that a former manager, under the direction of the then general manager, subjected a class of men (numbering over 50) to egregious forms of sexual harassment, including shocking sexual comments, frequent solicitations for oral sex, and regular touching, grabbing, and biting of male workers on their buttocks and genitals. The EEOC also alleged that Pitre retaliated against male employees who objected to the sexually hostile work environment.
The alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, which includes harassment of individuals of the same sex. When an employer disciplines, terminates, or takes other punitive measures against an employee for objecting to workplace discrimination, the employer further violates Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision.
This case represents the largest litigation settlement in the history of the EEOC’s Albuquerque Office. More than 50 men are expected to receive payments through the settlement. In addition to the substantial monetary relief, the settlement prohibits Pitre from discriminating or retaliating against its employees, and requires Pitre to have policies and practices that will provide its employees with a work environment free of sexual harassment and retaliation, evaluate their managers on their compliance with anti-discrimination laws, and hire a monitor to oversee its efforts to provide a harassment-free workplace. Pitre must also provide regular anti-discrimination training to its employees and managers, and report other discrimination complaints to the EEOC.
To learn more about the EEOC and the federal employment laws it enforces, go to its website at www.eeoc.gov.