The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that Wal-Mart has violated federal law when it permitted a male employee to subject a mentally disabled female co-worker to sexually inappropriate abuse at work. The store also faces liability for executing retaliation against the female employee for her opposition to the misconduct.
The developmentally disabled worker was an employee of Wal-Mart as a worker in the lawn and garden department for over a decade. The EEOC alleges that from 2005 to January 2011, the store permitted a male employee to harass the woman. The activities involved sexual touching of the female employee while she was at the store.
While store management was aware of the harassment, it did nothing to fix the sexually hostile work environment. Conversely, the woman was fired after she reported the sexual contact.
The alleged case evokes important legal issues related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In this suit, the agency seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as lost wages and benefits.
A hostile working environment can include any of the following gestures:
- Suggestive or leering looks
- Offensive gestures or comments
- Derogatory pictures or posters
- Unwelcomed touching
These are just a few actions that are not welcomed under Title VII.
Such harassment is not in accordance with employment laws and regulations. To learn more about Title VII and what is not permitted under the law, you can speak to an attorney in your area. If you have been sexual harassed at your workplace, you deserve compensation.
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "EEOC Sues Wal-Mart for Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Disability Discrimination," April 10, 2013