EEOC Sues Suffolk, NY, Laundry For Sexual Harassment

Filed under: Labor,Legal,News,Sexual Harassment |
P. David Lopez

P. David Lopez

For years a manager at Suffolk Laundry Services in Southampton, N.Y., allegedly physically and verbally sexually harassed multiple female laundry workers at the facility.

During the course of several years, the manager regularly touched women on their buttocks, hips, backs, forcibly kissed them, and made comments about their appearance and body parts, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a federal lawsuit.

The agency also alleges that the manager subjected the women to verbal sexual harassment by conditioning requests for time off or for laundry machine repairs with demands that the women sit on his lap or kiss him.

Even after discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC, Suffolk Laundry continued to permit the manager to remain in job and retaliated against women who complained by terminating them, reducing their work hours and/or altering their work assignments.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (12-CV-409) 30 January 2012 on behalf of seven female Suffolk workers, after attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. The suit seeks compensatory damages for women who suffered sexual harassment while employed for the Suffolk Laundry Services. It also seeks injunctive relief to prevent future harassment and retaliation.

“It took a great deal of courage for the women who filed charges to come forward and speak up against a manager who had power over their livelihood,” said Ami Sanghvi, a trial attorney in the EEOC’s New York office. “The EEOC is committed to ensuring that they and other female workers need not feel as though they must silently suffer sexual harassment.”

The EEOC will litigate the case in partnership with LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the non-profit organization representing seven women who filed charges. The workers are represented in the suit by the LatinoJustice PRLDEF legal team, and the law firm of Outten & Golden LLP.

“We want to ensure that the most vulnerable workers – including low-wage, female workers with limited English proficiency – understand their rights on the job and come forward when they are suffering from unlawful discrimination,” said Elizabeth Joynes, LatinoJustice PRLDEF attorney and Skadden Fellow.

“The EEOC stands ready to litigate sexual harassment cases when we believe that discrim¬in¬ation has occurred,” said EEOC General Counsel P. David Lopez. “And it is important that we work in partnership with organizations such as LatinoJustice that aid our efforts to ensure that the rights of victims of alleged discrimination are vindicated.”

For further EEOC iformation the EEOC is available at www.eeoc.gov.

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