ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The ABC Cake Shop & Bakery in Albuquerque, which is owned and operated by Early Bird Management Group, LLC, has agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $220,000, the agency announced today.
The EEOC's lawsuit, EEOC v. Early Bird Management Group, LLC d/b/a ABC Cake Shop & Bakery, 11-CV-799 JCH/RDS, charged that an owner of ABC subjected female employees, including some teenagers, to sexual harassment. The sexually offensive conduct included sexual comments, innuendo and unwanted touching. The EEOC's suit also alleged that some women were forced to quit their jobs because of the sexual harassment.
Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
At least 19 women are expected to receive relief through the consent decree settling the suit. In addition to the substantial monetary relief, the decree prohibits ABC from further discriminating or retaliating against its employees and requires it to implement policies and practices that will provide its employees a work environment free of sex discrimination and retaliation. ABC also agreed to provide the harmed women with letters of reference and apology letters. Finally, ABCs must also provide its employees with anti-discrimination training and notice of the settlement.
"Employers cannot sexually harass their employees," said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O'Neill of the EEOC's Phoenix District Office. "They must comply with federal law that requires them to maintain workplaces where employees are not subjected to illegal sexual harassment or forced to quit because of it. Given these difficult economic times, women should not be forced to choose between intolerable abuse and making a living for themselves and their families."
EEOC Albuquerque Area Director Derick L. Newton added, "We are pleased that this employer is taking appropriate steps to assure that no further harassment occurs in its workplaces. Federal law protects a woman's right to work without harassment because of her sex. Violations of the law will be met with rigorous enforcement by our agency."
The EEOC recently updated its Youth@Work website at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/, which presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination. The website also contains curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities in the work force.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.