San Diego, CA–Armed Forces Services Corporation, an Arlington, Virginia-based provider of health and wellness solutions to military service members, has agreed to pay $60,000, and provide other relief to resolve a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency said Wednesday.
According to the Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit, a female employee was subjected to sexual harassment by a male co-worker in 2018. The alleged sexual harassment included verbal and physical harassment. The commission alleges that, even after the company learned of the harassment, AFSC failed to take appropriate and effective actions to address the harassment. The commission further contends that after complaining, the female employee was subjected to retaliation.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation for reporting a claim against such discrimination. The commission filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to monetary relief, Armed Forces Services Corporation has agreed to put in place more effective measures that will address and prevent discrimination in the workplace. These measures include reviewing, revising, and implementing companywide policies addressing discrimination and harassment; a clear explanation of prohibited conduct; assurance to take prompt corrective action; outlining an internal complaint process; a centralized tracking system for complaints; and anti-discrimination training. The decree will remain under the court’s jurisdiction for a two-year term.
“Sexual harassment remains a persistent problem where strong mechanisms to correct and prevent harassment are not followed,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. “We encourage employers to reevaluate their practices and commend AFSC for agreeing to implement comprehensive injunctive remedies to address and prevent sexual harassment.”
Jacquelyn Famber, director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s San Diego’s Local Office, said, “Failing to address retaliation sets a tone that chills other employees from coming forward and reporting workplace issues. It is imperative that employers create a culture that does not tolerate retaliation from anyone in their workplace.”