Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Chocolate Delicious" and Man-on-Man Harassment - COTW #9

This week's employment law Case of the Week is an EEOC action filed in the Eastern District of PA against Cintas Corporation. It includes allegations of sexual harassment by a man against his male co-workers, a phenomenon which is reportedly on the rise. The EEOC reported this week that it settled the racial and sexual harassment suit for $152,500.

The allegations against a supervisor at the company's Conshohocken facility read like a what not to do list:
[The] supervisor’s unlawful harassment included: fondling the buttocks of class members; exposing his private parts and asking class members to expose their private parts to him; requesting sexual favors; and discussing his sexual exploits and sexual activities he would like to perform.
There were also allegations of racial harassment, including "calling black employees nicknames using some derivation of 'chocolate' such as 'chocolate delicious.'"

Yeah, these sound like Title VII violations to me. This case is a little different for a few reasons, making it a great COTW:

  • Well, obviously the violations are egregious;
  • It ended in settlement, a common outcome that often eludes media coverage;
  • It features man-on-man sexual harassment which is on the rise but not often discussed; and
  • It was an EEOC action.
Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.