EEOC Settles Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Claim Against Long Island Church and Diocese

914699_lipstick sxchu username klsa12.jpgA Long Island church and diocese recently agreed to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation complaint that was filed against it by the nation’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the EEOC, a male Interim Rector at the Grace Episcopal Church of Whitestone, Inc. touched, grabbed, and kissed a church secretary and another woman who was employed by the church. The man also allegedly made inappropriate sexual comments and subjected the two women to numerous and unwelcome sexual advances. When the secretary refused the Interim Rector’s advances, she was reportedly terminated from her position.

After the secretary was fired, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York alleging the church and diocese violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As part of a pre-litigation settlement, the two women were awarded almost $200,000 in damages. In addition, the church and diocese agreed to refrain from engaging in retaliation or sexual harassment, report all such claims to the EEOC, post a notice regarding the lawsuit in a conspicuous location at the church, ensure that all employees receive a revised copy of the organization’s policies on sexual harassment, and compel all workers to attend anti-discrimination training.

Kevin Berry, New York District Director for the EEOC, stated both public and private employers must ensure that employees do not suffer workplace sexual harassment. He also said employers must make certain that workers have access to more than one avenue through which to make formal harassment complaints.

Employers in New Jersey and New York are required to provide a workplace that is free from sexual and other harassment. Whether in the private or public sector, an employer’s failure to appropriately deal with workers who violate sexual harassment policies can expose the organization to lawsuits and employees to unlawful workplace conduct. Sexual and other harassment may be committed by a superior or a co-worker. In some situations, an employer may be held responsible for the inappropriate acts of co-workers who commit harassment. If you feel you were the victim of workplace sexual harassment, you are advised to contact a New Jersey or New York employment attorney to discuss your situation.

The dedicated employment attorneys at the Resnick Law Group represent current and former workers in legal matters that involve sexual harassment, disability discrimination, medical leave, employment contracts, gender discrimination, and a variety of others issues in both New Jersey and New York. To discuss your case with a caring advocate, do not hesitate to contact the Resnick Law Group through our website or give us a call today at 973-781-1204 or 646-867-7997.

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AARP Survey Finds Most Older Americans in New York and Nationwide Have Experienced Age Discrimination at Work, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, June 18, 2013
Former Law Firm Shareholder Settles Proposed Class-Action Gender Discrimination Case Filed in New York, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, June 17, 2013
Additional Resources:

EEOC Settles Sex Harassment and Retaliation Suit Against Grace Church and Episcopal Diocese of L.I., EEOC Press Release dated May 22, 2013

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