Company President Sexually Harassed Male Employees for More Than a Decade, Federal Agency Says
HONOLULU, Hawai'i - Three related Hawai'i tour companies -- Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Inc., Hawaii Tours and Transportation Inc. and Big Kahuna Luau, Inc. -- will pay $570,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment suit filed against the companies by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC filed suit against the three companies in 2017, charging that the male president of Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours engaged in a pattern of sexually harassing male employees, many of whom were subsequently forced to quit as a result of the egregious harassment or were retaliated against for reporting the harassment, thereby violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (EEOC v. Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours, Inc. et al, Case No: 1:17-cv-00067-DKW-KSC).
As part of the settlement announced today, the parties entered into a three-year consent decree providing $570,000 in damages to a class of male employees. The decree requires that the alleged harasser not have further involvement in the operations and divested of control of the companies. The companies will designate an external equal employment opportunity (EEO) consultant to ensure the companies' compliance with Title VII and anti-retaliation policies and procedures.
The decree also requires an independent complaint process and impartial investigations, together with a centralized tracking system for harassment and retaliation complaints and provisions holding supervisors, managers and officers of the companies accountable for harassment and retaliation. Annual training on sexual harassment and retaliation will be provided, especially for the president and other supervisors and managers, to educate them on their rights and responsibilities on sexual harassment and retaliation with the goal of preventing and deterring any discriminatory practices in the future.
"This settlement sends an unequivocal message that accountability is required regardless of who the alleged harasser is and no one is above the law under Title VII," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District, which includes Hawai'i in its jurisdiction, "The EEOC will continue to relentlessly enforce laws against any sexual harassment in workplaces."
Glory Gervacio Saure, director of the EEOC's Honolulu Local Office, added, "Unfortunately, our society still stigmatizes the victims, not the perpetrators, of sexual harassment. Especially in light of the #MeToo movement, it is critical for victims to speak up, despite the stigma, so that we can effectively address sexual harassment in the workplace."
According to the company's website, www.discoverhiddenhawaiitours.com, Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours provides guided tours of Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai.
Individuals who may have experienced sexual harassment or have information pertaining to sexual harassment in connection with employment at Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours should contact the EEOC at 808-541-3133 for more information.
Preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).