Workers Were Unlawfully Harassed by Supervisor, Federal Agency Charged

NEW YORK – 82-10 Baxter Ave. Food Corp., doing business as Foodtown, will pay $285,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, a department manager of the Elmhurst, N.Y., supermarket physically and verbally sexually harassed two female workers under his supervision at the facility, then fired them because they resisted his advances. The harassment included comments about their appearance, propositions for sex, forced kissing, and other unwanted touching. The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. 82-10 Baxter Ave. Food Corp. d/b/a Foodtown (a/k/a Foodtown of Baxter Avenue) (E.D.N.Y. Case No. 18-cv-05100) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Sept. 30, 2018, after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The three-year consent decree resolving the case provides that, in addition to paying $285,000, the company will adopt new policies and procedures to prevent and report sexual harassment and will train its managers and staff on identifying and preventing sexual harassment and retaliation. The policies and staff training will be available in Spanish. The decree also requires that the company investigate any complaints of sexual harassment it receives and provide copies of its investigations to the EEOC. The EEOC will monitor the company’s compliance with these obligations and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the next three years.

“Employers should take seriously their responsibility to prevent sexual harassment of their employees,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “If they don’t, the EEOC will take action, including litigation when necessary. Many employees, especially low-wage and immigrant workers, fear reporting sexual harassment. It took great courage for these women to come forward and participate in this case.”

EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry added, “The conduct at issue in this case was egregious. We are glad the company agreed to adopt policies and provide crucial training that will educate its workforce.”

The New York District Office of the EEOC is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

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