Two Female Employees Were Subjected to a Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charged
BUFFALO, N.Y. – James Cars of Hamburg, LLC, doing business as James Mitsubishi Hamburg, and its parent company, James Auto Management LLC, will pay $110,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the general manager of the Hamburg dealership and two other dealerships owned by the parent company in Rome and Greece, N.Y., made numerous unwelcome sexual advances and comments to two female employees. The manager made repeated comments on their bodies and asked them to join him in his hotel room. According to the lawsuit, the general manager mimed sex acts in front of a female employee and engaged in inappropriate physical contact with female employees, including giving unwelcome massages.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. James Cars of Hamburg LLC d/b/a James Mitsubishi Hamburg, and James Auto Management LLC, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-00780-LJV) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, Buffalo Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
Under the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, which was approved by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo, James Mitsubishi Hamburg and its parent company will pay $110,000 in monetary damages to two former female employees and modify its current sexual harassment policy to offer employees additional reporting options, including a toll-free, 24/7 complaint hotline. The companies agreed to issue a written disciplinary warning to the alleged harasser and provide him one-on-one sexual harassment prevention training. The companies also agreed to distribute a new policy to employees, train employees on the policy and the legal prohibitions against sexual harassment, and file regular reports with the EEOC throughout the decree’s term.
“Sexual harassment in the workplace unfortunately remains a widespread problem,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York District Office. “The EEOC will always seek to eradicate sexual harassment where it finds it.”
Judy Keenan, director of the New York District Office, said, “The EEOC is committed to take action against businesses that fail to protect their employees from unlawful harassment. We commend these companies for agreeing to take concrete steps to protect their employees from sexual harassment, including providing targeted training and multiple avenues for reporting such misconduct.”
The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, northern New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.