Country Inn at Berkeley Springs Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

According to the West Virginia Record, the Country Inn at Berkley Springs has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with female employees for $85.000. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that a class of female staff members employed in the kitchen and restaurant area were sexually harassed by male employees.

According to the EEOC, two of the employees were 18-year-old high school students at the time of the harassment. The agency claimed that sexual harassment in the work place included male employees engaging in sexual and offensive touching, groping of female employees, repeatedly requesting dates, using crude, sexually explicit language towards female employees and that the company retaliated when female workers complained. One male employee even exposed himself to female employees, claims the EEOC.

Candace Bland complained to the owner and management, but the employer failed to take necessary steps to stop the harassment and instead reduced the working hours of women who complained. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation against an employee who opposes sexual harassment or discrimination.

In addition to monetary relief, the Country Inn has a five-year consent decree from engaging in any further discrimination or harassment based on sex or retaliation for complaining about it. Under the decree, the company will revise and disseminate policies prohibiting sexual harassment and must set up procedures to promptly address such misconduct. The company will provide anti-discrimination training and report to the EEOC about responses to any complaints of alleged sexual harassment or discrimination.

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