Wow. When this company does sexual harassment, it really does it up big.
Bottom line first: VXI Global Solutions, a provider of call center services for major nationwide companies, will pay $600,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC, the feds have announced.
Nothing too unique there, although that’s a big piece of change. But what’s really interesting about this case is that the company was held responsible for harassment of both male and female employees — the rare double delinquency.
EEOC filed suit against the company in September 2014, alleging that beginning in 2009 two classes of employees — female and male — endured a hostile work environment, created by at least 13 harassers, including male and female supervisors.
Female employees were subjected to unsolicited groping and touching, constant or continued sexual propositioning, and grotesque comments of a sexual nature by male supervisors.
The EEOC also contended that male employees were subjected to repeated sexual advances with foul descriptions of proposed sexual activity, unwanted lap dances and physical rubbing by female supervisors. Male employees who refused to participate were targets of unlawful gender stereotyping when they were accused of being gay because of their objection to the harasser’s behavior.
Supervisors also allegedly threatened and intimidated the staff to prevent complaints, according to the agency: Numerous attempts to report the harassment to human resources personnel were stymied by their lack of availability. After VXI Global Solutions’ supervisors and/or human resources personnel were eventually advised of the harassment, several of the alleged victims were subsequently disciplined and terminated.
According to the consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the company will, in addition to providing the monetary relief:
- retain an equal employment opportunity consultant to revise the company’s policies and procedures with respect to sexual harassment and retaliation
- provide training in those areas to all employees nationwide along with additional training for management and human resources personnel on how to effectively deal with such complaints
- maintain a centralized system to track internal sexual harassment and retaliation complaints; conduct surveys at company sites in Los Angeles, Texas and Ohio, and
- post a notice on the matter at the Los Angeles site. EEOC will monitor compliance with the four-year consent decree.