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Letter to Leaders & Swenson Insights

Nevada Company Pays $425,000 To Settle Sex Harassment/Retaliation

Also, you would expect to see cases like this in California rather than Nevada. With the economy in Nevada – especially Southern Nevada – sinking – all it takes is one mistake to end your business. Don’t be like Scolari’s.

Scolari’s Warehouse Markets will pay $425,000 and furnish other relief to settle a class sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on September 5.

The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that 19 female employees, several of whom were teenagers at the time, were subjected to repeated and sometimes severe sexual harassment by the company’s senior officers across multiple stores in the Reno area. The EEOC asserted that Scolari’s senior officers and managers inappropriately touched female employees, propositioned them, made lewd comments and passed around naked photos of themselves, among other acts. In addition, the EEOC charged that Scolari’s management failed to address and correct the unlawful conduct, even when the victims complained about it. Instead, the women were fired or were forced to abandon their jobs after they complained about the harassment.

All this alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Nevada after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement (EEOC v. Scolari’s Warehouse Markets, CV 04-229 DAE – RAM). A consent decree setting forth the terms of the agreement was approved by the court on Sept. 5.

Under the three-year consent decree resolving the case, Scolari’s agreed to pay $425,000 to the employees identified by the EEOC to have been sexually harassed or retaliated against. As part of the injunctive relief, Scolari’s further agreed to provide training to all employees; provide reports to the EEOC regarding its employment practices for a period of three years; and, to hire a consultant to review its harassment policies and procedures.

“In a case like this, where several of the victims were young women new to the work force, victims of harassment often feel further isolated and marginalized,” said EEOC Los Angeles Regional Attorney Anna Y. Park. “This case shows that employers need to investigate and act on complaints of harassment before the problem mushrooms.”

EEOC’s Los Angeles District Director Olophius Perry added, “Nevada employers need to be vigilant in protecting workers who have the courage to speak out against harassment. The EEOC is determined to protect the civil rights of all workers, and that includes protecting their right to protest illegal mistreatment.”

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