For most of our Colorado readers, hopefully any disagreements they have with a superior in the course of their employment are strictly based on work-related matters. However, anyone familiar with previous posts here knows that this is not always the case for employees throughout the country, and Colorado is not immune to some of the more serious conflicts, such as sexual harassment.
According to a recent report, a Colorado-based employer recently settled this type of discrimination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Under the terms of the settlement the employer, a potato company called Spud Seller Inc., must pay $255,000. This large figure is likely based on the unique circumstances of this particular claim.
It appears that the sexual harassment claim arose due to one supervisor's actions. The report details how 10 female employees were alleged subjected to this supervisor's sexual harassment over the course of six years. All of the female employees were hourly employees, and the report also indicates that some were immigrant workers. The supervisor's acts allegedly included groping the women, exposing himself in the workplace and making sexual comments to the employees. The supervisor was fired from this company in 2012.
The EEOC decided that the supervisor's alleged actions were in violation of federal employment law, and now the company will pay the price. This is how it should work. When sexual harassment occurs in the workplace, the employer needs to be held accountable for the actions of employees who break company policy, and especially for those who break federal employment laws. If the employee is in a management position, the company can expect to be the party who is ultimately held accountable as an end result.
Source: Business Insurance, "EEOC settles sexual harassment charges against Colo. potato supplier," Judy Greenwald, March 19, 2013