Published July 2, 2012
The operators and management company of a Holiday Inn Express in Simpsonville will pay $90,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, the agency announced Monday.
The agency had charged that the defendants, Imperial Investments Greenville Inc. and Imperial Investments Group Inc., violated federal law by subjecting several female employees to a sexually hostile work environment at the hotel.
The lawsuit further charged that one woman was unlawfully fired in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment. Such alleged actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and retaliation.
More specifically, the complaint alleged that from at least August 2007 until January 2009, the hotel’s male general manager subjected the employees to sexual comments, sexual advances and unwelcome touching.
When one of the defendants reported the sexual harassment to the defendants’ corporate office, the defendants failed to properly investigate or stop the harassment, according to the EEOC.
In addition to the $90,000, the case’s decree also requires the redistribution of the companies’ sexual harassment policy, and requires annual training on sexual harassment and retaliation for the hotel’s managers, supervisors and employees. The companies must report complaints of sexual harassment to the EEOC throughout the term of the decree.
“Sexual harassment in the workplace will simply not be tolerated,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for EEOC’s Charlotte district office. “An employer is obligated to maintain a workplace free of harassment. One who ignores sexual harassment, and fails to take active measures to prevent it risks legal liability.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.