Philadelphia Employment Law News

Country Fresh Settles EEOC Suit for Being Too Fresh

The name Country Fresh usually brings to mind delicious fresh fruit and vegetables. But the store took a little too much liberty with the word fresh to get a little too fresh with its employees, according to an EEOC Press Release.

Just to be clear, we're talking sexual harassment here. And not just one person. The EEOC filed suit after multiple reports of flagrant sexual harassment of women in the meat department by the department manager at Country Fresh's Brownsville store, according to the EEOC.

So how did the suit get to the EEOC?

The EEOC handles claims that deal with violation of labor laws or civil rights in the workplace. The Commission can take complaints from employees or initiate investigations on its own.

It is actually a requirement for those that want to file a discrimination suit against their employer to first file a charge with the EEOC. If the EEOC does not take your case, you can then ask for a "right to sue" letter that allows you to take the case directly to the courts.

To file with the EEOC, you must go in person or mail your complaint within 180 days from the time of the harassment. If the EEOC thinks there has been discrimination or harassment, it will notify your employer and start working out a resolution between you and your employer.

Here, there were four women who had not only been sexually harassed by unwanted touching, sexual advances, and comments, but were also told that they would be fired if they complained about it, according to the EEOC.

For allowing the harassment and then retaliating when it was reported, Country Fresh must pay $95,000 to the women, and create a harassment and retaliation policy that requires supervisors to actively monitor for sexual harassment.

This all leads to the conclusion that fresh produce leads to happy customers, but fresh employees leads to an EEOC suit.

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