Coral Gables Trust Company to Pay $180,000 To Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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Male Supervisor Harassed Female Executive Assistant and Marketing Officer and Retaliated After She Complained, Federal Agency Charged

MIAMI - Coral Gables Trust Company (CGTC), a South Florida-based privately held trust company that provides wealth investment management and trust services throughout Florida, will pay $180,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, a female executive assistant and marketing officer was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her gender and then retaliated against after she complained. The hostile work environment included verbal and physical harassment based on her sex at CGTC's Coral Gables office and at various locations throughout South Florida that the executive assistant visited on business trips.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit against CGTC in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division (Case No. 1:18cv21148-JAL/JJO) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through EEOC's conciliation process.

The EEOC and CGTC reached an agreement to resolve the suit through a consent decree that requires the company paying $180,000 to the discrimination victim and providing her with a positive job reference. In addition, the decree requires that CGTC retain an independent equal employment opportunity consultant to investigate all complaints of sex-based harassment, discrimination or retaliation. The company must also distribute a revised policy against sex discrimination; post a notice informing employees about the suit; provide anti-discrimination training to all managers and employees; and provide individual training to the company's chief wealth advisor. Further, CGTC agreed to designate two board members to receive future complaints of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.

"The EEOC has long recognized the role that power imbalances in the workplace, such as those between managers and their direct subordinates, can play a role in permitting and perpetuating sexual harassment," said Michael Farrell, district director for the EEOC's Miami District Office. "Sexual harassment is plainly illegal under federal law, and the EEOC will continue to combat it."

EEOC Miami District Office Regional Attorney Robert E. Weisberg added, "The EEOC will not only keep enforcing federal anti-harassment laws, it will also continue to encourage employers to implement and maintain robust training in order to prevent harassment from occurring in the first place."

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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