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ARTICLE ID 168453

$________ - SEXUAL HARASSMENT - FIVE FEMALE COLLEGE EMPLOYEES HARASSED BY SECURITY GUARD AT WORK - HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT - FAILURE OF DEFENDANT COLLEGE TO TAKE APPROPRIATE CORRECTIVE ACTION.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

This action was brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of ________ against Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of five female claimants. The claimants, who were employed at the college, alleged that a security guard also employed by the defendant sexually harassed them at work and that the defendant failed to take appropriate corrective action. Several individual employees of the college, including supervisors, human resource personnel and the alleged harasser, were also named as defendants in the case. The defendants did not admit any of the allegations contained in the plaintiff’s complaint.

The EEOC alleged that the defendant college’s supervisor in charge of "loss prevention" engaged in repeated and unwelcome sexual harassment of five women in the public safety department. The plaintiff contended that the defendant supervisor’s abusive and harassing treatment included groping the female employees and forcibly kissing them. In addition, it was alleged that this supervisor made lewd comments and gestures regarding sexual activities he wanted to perform on the female claimants and displayed or e-mailed them pornography and sexually explicit materials, as well as making other crude verbal sexual remarks to the women involved.

The plaintiff contended that one of the claimants was forced to quit her job at the college because of the unrelenting harassment and another reduced her hours to part-time. The plaintiff alleged that the harassment began in ________ and that the claimants complained to the individual defendants at the college, including complaints lodged in ________ and ________, but the defendants failed to take appropriate action to halt the harassment.

Although a representative of the defendant’s human resource department spoke with the harasser about his conduct and a verbal warning was given; the college would not take any further action against him, unless the female claimants filed a formal complaint, according to the plaintiff’s allegations. The plaintiff alleged that the formal complaint process discouraged the female claimants from pursuing their complaints because it required that the alleged harasser be aware of their actions and allowed him to remain in his position while the complaint was investigated.

The plaintiff alleged that the continued sexual harassment violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of ________. The plaintiffs sought punitive damages, as well as compensatory damages for lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional damages.

The case was settled prior to trial for a total of $1 million in monetary relief to the five class members. The two-year consent decree settling the case also provides substantial equitable relief, including enjoining the defendant Lafayette College from engaging in sexual harassment or retaliation. The defendant college will also provide annual training for all managers and supervisors and post a notice regarding the settlement. The defendants did not admit liability in the consent decree.

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