Jury Rules for EEOC in Sexual Harassment Case Against the Finish Line

Manager  Abused Teen Employees, Federal Agency Charged

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A U.S. District Court Jury has found that  a 38-year-old general manager at The Finish Line, Inc.'s Cool Springs Galleria  store in Franklin, Tenn., subjected three female subordinates, who were 16 and  17 at the time, to severe sexual harassment, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity  Commission (EEOC) announced today.  The  Finish Line is an Indianapolis-based company that sells athletic footwear,  apparel and accessories.

The jury awarded the victims $30,000 in compensatory damages  in a trial presided over by Chief District Judge William J. Haynes, Jr.  In addition to compensatory damages, the  parties also stipulated to an amount of back pay.  Within 20 days, the EEOC will also file a motion with the court for injunctive relief against the defendant.

The lawsuit charged Finish Line with subjecting at least  three female employees to unlawful sexual harassment.  The agency also alleged that Finish Line forced  the female employees to quit as a result of the sexually abusive working  environment, and retaliated against one female employee by reducing her hours  because she resisted the sexual harassment.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights  Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment based on sex and retaliation against  those who protest it.  The EEOC filed its  lawsuit, Civil Action No. 3:11-cv-00920, in U.S. District Court for the Middle  District of Tennessee, after first attempting to settle the matter through its  conciliation process.

"This jury verdict reinforces the EEOC's continued  commitment to securing fair and equal treatment for women of all ages in the  workplace," said Faye A. Williams, EEOC regional attorney in Memphis District,  which includes Tennessee, Arkansas and North Mississippi.  "It also sends a clear message to employers that  there is a price to pay for sexual harassment in the workplace."

Kenneth Anderson, EEOC lead trial attorney, said, "It is  unfortunate that any woman has to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace,  especially teenagers.  Equally  reprehensible is the fact that the harassment was at the hands of their much  older male supervisor.  We commend these three  young women for the tremendous courage they displayed in confronting egregious  sexual harassment by their supervisor." 

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination.  Further information  about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


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