Defuniak Springs Store Management Allowed Male Associate to Abuse Female Co-Workers, Federal Agency Charges
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Wal-Mart Stores East, LP violated federal law when it allowed a male employee at its Defuniak Springs, Florida, store to sexually harass at least three female employees, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, from at least July 2018 until late November 2018, at least three female employees were subjected to sexual harassment by a male co-worker. The abusive conduct included repeated instances of sexual comments and inappropriate touching. After one of the females complained to management, Walmart failed to stop the harassment and instead fired her four days later. The offending co-worker continued to harass other female employees, according to the EEOC.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Walmart, Inc., d/b/a Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Civil Action No. 3:21-cv-01051-TKW-HTC) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks back pay and reinstatement for the terminated employee, compensatory and punitive damages for all the victims, and injunctive relief to remedy and prevent future workplace sexual harassment.
“This case serves as reminder that employers must take complaints of sexual harassment seriously and not retaliate against employees who assert their lawful rights,” said Bradley Anderson, district director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office. “Employees should be applauded for standing up for their rights, not punished.”
Marsha Rucker, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, said, “Retaliation against victims who complain of harassment is a violation of federal law. When employers punish victims instead of addressing the problem, the EEOC will hold them accountable.”
Walmart, founded in 1962 and headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, owns and manages a chain of over 11,000 largest grocery and retail stores globally. Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, and the largest private employer in the world.
The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.
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.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.gov)