EEOC Wins $410,000 For Walmart Employee In Buffalo, NY
At least one person from Buffalo is pleased right now after the EEOC successfully litigated a claim against Walmart and settled her sexual harassment lawsuit for $410,000. Meanwhile, the rest of Buffalo is still reeling over the Bills’ loss to our hometown Jaguars. While we cannot comment on the quality of the Bills’ chances post-season, we can comment on the quality of the lawsuit filed against a Walmart store in the Buffalo area.
According to the lawsuit, between 2014 and 2018, a male employee made unwelcome sexual comments, touched female employees without their consent, and made unwelcome advances to female employees. The lawsuit alleged that management knew of the problem having received several complaints prior, but did not act on the complaints or remedy the situation. In fact, one female employee who complained of harassment was told to “put her big girl panties on” and “stand up for herself”.
Why do companies ignore sexual harassment complaints?
Honestly, I don’t know. The thing is this. Sexual harassment complaints are not like personal injury complaints. If HR determines that an employee committed sexual harassment against another employee, they are not necessarily liable for the sexual harassment. The employee’s conduct is his own. However, the company has control of the employee. So the company can step in, punish or fire the employee for their conduct, and they would have met their obligations to the complainant under the law. In a personal injury lawsuit, you don’t want to admit liability at all. In a sexual harassment lawsuit, failure to act is the problem, not the existence of an employee who doesn’t know how to act in a workplace.
Generally speaking, things like this occur because of bad management. Management has one standard for dealing with complaints while the law has another. Management, convinced of their own autocracy, behaves in a manner that pleases them, attempts to avoid complaints of sexual harassment, and then ends up facing a sexual harassment lawsuit. While Walmart’s liability to the plaintiffs is not all that high, it will be enjoined from creating a hostile work environment in the future and the EEOC will oversee the process by which they attempt to remedy the situation. Further, they will be required to issue periodic reports on sexual harassment training. In other words, the EEOC is going to be breathing down their neck for the next three years.
How to handle a situation like the above-mentioned
The sexual harassment went on for four years at the same Walmart outlet, but it could have been stopped much earlier if one of the women had filed suit immediately. Often, however, those employed by Walmart aren’t completely aware of their rights and Walmart won’t go out of their way to inform them. So, situations like these are allowed to evolve for years before they are remedied.
If you have faced sexual harassment in your workplace and remedying the situation with management does not appear to be resolving the issue, then your next step is to contact an attorney who will place significantly more leverage on your company than you can. That, ultimately, is how you stand up for yourself. Call the Jacksonville sexual harassment attorneys at the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway today to discuss your situation in more detail and learn what you should do next.