Arizona-based High-Tech Institute Inc., doing business as Anthem College Online, will pay $260,000 as part of a settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced.
In its suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (Civil Action No.CV-09-2041-ROS), the EEOC charged that Anthem College subjected female employees to repeated sexual harassment by supervisors. (WCxKit)
According to the EEOC, six female admissions representatives working at the Phoenix, Ariz., location were frequently sexually harassed by three supervisors. EEOC allegations included that the supervisors engaged in unwanted sexual touching and comments, writing sexually suggestive e-mails and soliciting sex from employees during unwelcome visits to the their homes in the early morning hours. Some of this abusive behavior was witnessed by other Anthem College employees, the EEOC said.
The EEOC maintained that Anthem College knew or should have known about and tolerated this sexually hostile work environment caused by its supervisors. The agency said the company’s former human resource manager wrote that Anthem College employees were fearful to come forward because an alleged harasser was seen drinking and socializing with upper management and that there was blatant disrespect to employees and rampant poor management.
According to the EEOC, the company unreasonably delayed removing a class member from under the supervision of an alleged harasser who, the company’s own former human resources manager testified, was a “psychopath.” The EEOC argued that despite Anthem College’s knowledge about the harassment, the company failed to take reasonable steps to investigate and remedy the harassment.
“Employees who have an official or strong duty to communicate to management are considered part of management,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the Phoenix District Office, which originated the legal action. “Here, there was a breakdown in reporting by persons, whose job descriptions required them to report any issues affecting the normal operation of the admissions department, including sexual harassment. They failed to do so, with serious consequences.”
In addition to the settlement requiring Anthem College to pay $260,000 to the former employees, Anthem College also must investigate any further complaints of sexual harassment, provide training for managers and supervisors on conducting sexual harassment investigations and post a notice that harassment of Anthem College employees will not be tolerated. (WCxKit)
EEOC Phoenix District Director Rayford Irvin added, “We insist that companies fulfill their obligation to protect employees from sexual harassment and provide the necessary training to ensure this protection."
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com .
Our WC Manual: http://corner.advisen.com/partners_wctoolkit_book.html
WORK COMP CALCULATOR: http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR: http://www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php
SUBSCRIBE: Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.