The settlement marks the resolution of the EEOC’s lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Peter Economos v. Huntersville Seafood Inc., d/b/a Captain’s Galley; in the Western District of North Carolina, Civil Action 3:10-cv-00624), which charged that Peter Economos and other male employees were sexually harassed by a male coworker at Captain’s Galley, a seafood restaurant in Huntersville, N.C. Specifically, the EEOC said that Economos and other male employees were touched on the buttocks, nipples, and testicles and were subjected to almost daily sexual gestures and comments between 2007 and 2008. Despite complaints Economos and the other employees made to the restaurant’s owner, the harassment continued and after Economos complained about the harassment, he was ultimately discharged, the EEOC charged.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When an employer terminates or disciplines an employee because the employee complains about workplace discrimination, the employer further violates Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision.
In addition to paying $86,000 in monetary damages to Economos and three other former male employees, the three-year consent decree settling the case provides, among other things, for sexual harassment training for managers and employees; requires Captain’s Galley to adopt a policy preventing sexual harassment; and requires that the restaurant report information about its employment practices and any sexual harassment complaints periodically to the EEOC.
“This settlement is a great result for Mr. Economos and the other victims of the harassment,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office. “This case serves as a reminder to employers that sexual harassment can occur between employees of the same sex and must be addressed if it occurs,” Barnes continued.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.