BALTIMORE - Maritime Autowash (later known as Phase 2 Investments, Inc.) will pay $300,000 in monetary relief and furnish equitable relief to settle a federal race and national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's August 2017 lawsuit, Maritime violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by segregating a class of Hispanic workers into lower-paying jobs as laborers or detailers at its former Edgewater, Md., facility. Maritime failed to offer them promotion or advancement opportunities to key employee or cashier positions, despite their tenure and outstanding job performance, and paid many class members only the minimum wage despite years of service, while paying non-Hispanic workers higher wages and promoting them.
The EEOC also charged that Maritime discriminated against the Hispanic class members in their terms and conditions of employment, such as forcing them to perform other duties without additional compensation and denying them proper safety equipment or clothing. The EEOC said Maritime required Hispanic workers to perform personal tasks for the owner and managers, such as routinely assigning the female Hispanic class members to clean the houses of the owner or manager and assigning the male Hispanics to perform duties at their homes, such as landscaping, cleaning the pool, picking up dog excrement, painting or helping with moves.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed its suit (EEOC v. Phase 2 Investments, Inc., et. al, Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-02463) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
According to the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit, Maritime no longer has any operating facilities or employees. In addition to the payment of $300,000 in compensatory damages to the original complainants and class members, the decree enjoins Maritime from retaliating in the future against any individual for asserting his or her rights under Title VII or otherwise engaging in protected activity. Should Maritime reopen and reactivate, it shall be enjoined from creating or maintaining a hostile work environment and inferior economic terms and conditions of employment on the basis of national origin or race.
"Unfortunately, we continue to see employers who are all too eager to employ vulnerable workers and exploit them for their willingness to work long hours for low pay," said Jamie R. Williamson, district director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence said, "The federal anti-discrimination laws do not contain exceptions for vulnerable workers. The EEOC will take vigorous action to ensure that all workers are free from harassment and receive equal pay for equal work."
EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Maria Salacuse added, "After enduring more than five years of EEOC investigation and litigation, these discrimination victims can finally close this chapter in their lives and move on knowing that they have made a difference for other vulnerable workers."
Eliminating discriminatory practices affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws or reluctant or unable to exercise them, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). These practices can include disparate pay, job segregation, harassment and human trafficking. Enforcing equal pay laws, including addressing discriminatory compensation systems and practices, is another SEP priority.
Former General Manager at Subway Franchise in Rotterdam Sent Texts to 17-year-old Girls Offering Jobs in Exchange for Sex, Federal Agency Says
NEW YORK - Draper Development LLC, the owner-operator of over a dozen Subway franchises in the Albany and Schenectady area, will pay $80,000 and take other steps to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of New York (EEOC v. Draper Development, LLC Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-877), Nick Kelly, a former general manager at Draper's Rotterdam Square Mall location, sent text messages to two female applicants offering a job in exchange for sex, both of whom were 17 years old at the time. In one case, Kelly's text message said, "Bang my brains out, and the job is yours." In both cases, when the young women did not comply, they were not hired.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits sexual harassment, including requesting sexual favors in exchange for jobs, and refusing to hire applicants who do not comply with sexual advances. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to paying $80,000 to the two victims, Draper will: distribute a revised policy prohibiting sexual harassment; conduct anti-harassment training for managers and employees; post a public notice about the settlement; and report all sexual harassment complaints to the EEOC.
"No teenager who is just beginning to navigate the working world should ever have to deal with unwelcome sexual advances as part of the hiring process," said Charles F. Coleman, Jr., the EEOC lead trial attorney. "The remedial provisions of the consent decree are designed to ensure such behavior never occurs again at this restaurant."
EEOC Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein said, "Conditioning hiring in exchange for sexual favors, known as quid-pro-quo sexual harassment, is exactly the type of behavior that has made the deserved momentum around #MeToo continue to grow stronger. The EEOC is determined to do its part to ensure sexual harassment of this kind is eradicated from the workplace."
The EEOC's New York District Office has jurisdiction over and is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and northern New Jersey. The Buffalo Local Office of the EEOC investigated this case.