BALTIMORE — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced that Dolgencorp LLC — trading as Dollar General Stores Inc. — will pay $50,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal sexual harassment suit that stems from allegations made at the Rock Hall store.
According to the suit, the store manager for the Rock Hall Dollar General repeatedly subjected an assistant manager to unwelcome harassment, including once grabbing her head and forcing it to his crotch, grabbing her and ripping her blouse and rubbing her shoulders.
He also made sexually charged innuendos and comments about her appearance, the EEOC said in a news release earlier this month announcing the settlement.
The assistant manager reportedly complained to Dollar General management. Instead of addressing the problem, the company transferred her to its Chestertown store, which required fewer and less convenient hours and added an hour to her daily commute, the EEOC charged.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, the release states.
“Employers should ensure that managers, and all employees, follow their anti-harassment policies and do not engage in unwelcome harassment,” said EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson. “Employers should also advise all workers that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon appropriately and without retaliation.”
The two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides $50,000 in monetary relief to the former assistant manager.
The decree enjoins Dollar General from creating or maintaining a hostile work environment based on sex. Dollar General will provide training on Title VII and the defendant’s policies against sexual harassment and discrimination, post the posters required by EEOC regulations and report to the EEOC on its compliance with the consent decree and on how it handles any future complaints of sexual harassment.
“Much harassment goes unreported and often occurs without witnesses. This charging party was particularly brave to speak up about the harassment. Dollar General’s transferring her away from the harasser, to a more difficult and distant store, is the type of response which does not facilitate workers’ willingness to come forward and report harassment. Employers should be reminded that harassment complaints can be valid, even when no one else will come forward to corroborate the allegations,” said EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.