- Dollar General has agreed to pay $50,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment stemming from a Maryland store, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in an April 8 announcement.
- The commission alleged that a store manager subjected an assistant manager to repeated harassment, including ripping her blouse and making sexually charged comments about her appearance. Rather than deal with the matter, corporate management transferred the alleged victim to another store, which resulted in fewer hours and added an hour to her commute, according to the commission.
- In addition to the monetary settlement, Dollar General agreed to provide training on federal anti-discrimination laws and its policies prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination.
Generally, if harassment by a supervisor results in a negative employment action such as the loss of a job, failure to promote or hire and loss of wages, among other things, employers are generally "automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor," according to EEOC. "The employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer."
Such measures also can assist employers in addressing co-worker harassment. A federal district court found in 2019, for example, that an employer was not liable for harassment because it took prompt remedial action that was sufficiently calculated to stop the alleged harassment. It had a harassment reporting procedure in place, quickly separated the complainant and the alleged harasser, investigated the claim and imposed discipline, according to court documents.
As sexual harassment continues to make headlines following the #MeToo movement, some employers have ramped up their responses. McDonald's, for example — which has been no stranger to harassment and discrimination claims — announced today that it will mandate worker training to combat harassment, discrimination and violence in its restaurants worldwide starting January 2022. The requirement will affect 2 million workers at 39,000 stores worldwide, according to ABC News.