The McDonald Oil Company agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit, the EEOC announced in a press release.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the Georgia-based company “ignored frequent complaints from multiple female employees and customers about ongoing sexual harassment by a male employee” who worked in two locations in Alabama.
How NOT to respond to sexual harassment
The lawsuit alleged that “multiple managers” were aware of the alleged harassment, but they failed to respond in a way that corrected “the hostile work environment.” The company’s mistake, according to the EEOC, was that it “chose to transfer the harasser to another store,” where he allegedly continued to harass female employees, rather than address the issue.
Specifically, the suit claimed the accused harasser:
- Subjected female employees and customers to unwanted sexual touching
- Made sexual comments about their bodies
- Asked questions about their sex lives
- Solicited co-workers for sex
- Disrobed at work, and
- Circulated nude and semi-nude photos of himself at work.
Ultimately, the man’s conduct resulted in his criminal prosecution.
The company has agreed to pay $400,000 to five female employees who alleged they suffered “severe mental anguish and emotional distress” due to the ongoing harassment. Under a three-year consent decree, the company will also:
- Revise its policies and procedures to prevent future incidents of sex-based harassment
- Provide training to managers on proper ways to document and investigate complaints of sexual harassment.
- Provide training to employees on their right to work in an environment free from sex-based harassment.