According to the Huffington Post, LensCrafters has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that alleged a male employee was subjected to sexual harassment by a female co-worker. The largest optical chain in the country admitted no wrongdoing, but will pay former lab technician William Sheard $192,500 and will start educating its employees about quid pro quo sexual harassment in the workplace as part of the settlement.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sheard in 2009, alleging the male employee fended off repeated come-ons from colleague Melissa Brandt in a LensCrafters store. A manager ignored Sheard’s complaints because he was a man harassed by a woman, says the complaint.
Sheard started working at LensCrafters in 1998, and in 2006 Brandt told him she wanted to have a relationship with him. Sheard declined and from then on Brandt would talk openly about his body, touch and grab his chest, and tell him she wanted to have sex with him. In 2008, Brandt allegedly tried to grab Sheard’s crotch and after numerous refusals Brandt filed a false sexual harassment claim against him. She later recanted and admitted it was false. Sheard claims management immediately investigated Brandt’s claim but continued to ignore his quid pro quo sexual harassment complaints.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment attorney