Assistant Store Manager Subjected to Egregious Sexual Harassment by Store Manager, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE – Dolgencorp, LLC, trading as Dollar General Stores Inc., a national retailer that operates over 17,000 stores in 46 states, will pay $50,000 and furnish significant equitable relief to settle a federal sexual harassment suit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
According to the suit, the store manager for the Rock Hall, Md., Dollar General repeatedly subjected an assistant manager to unwelcome harassment, including once grabbing her head and forcing it to his crotch; grabbing her and ripping her blouse, and rubbing her shoulders. He also made sexually charged innuendos and comments about her appearance. After the assistant manager complained to Dollar General management, and instead of addressing the problem, the company transferred her to its Chestertown store, which required fewer and less convenient hours and added an hour to her daily commute, the EEOC charged.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Dolgencorp, LLC, t/a Dollar General Stores Inc., Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02956 SAG) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The two-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit provides $50,000 in monetary relief to the former assistant manager. The decree enjoins Dollar General from creating or maintaining a hostile work environment based on sex. Dollar General will provide training on Title VII and the defendant’s policies against sexual harassment and discrimination, post the posters required by EEOC regulations, and report to the EEOC on its compliance with the consent decree and on how it handles any future complaints of sexual harassment.
“Employers should ensure that managers, and all employees, follow their anti-harassment policies and do not engage in unwelcome harassment,” said EEOC District Director Jamie R. Williamson. “Employers should also advise all workers that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon appropriately and without retaliation.”
EEOC Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “Much harassment goes unreported and often occurs without witnesses. This charging party was particularly brave to speak up about the harassment. Dollar General’s transferring her away from the harasser, to a more difficult and distant store, is the type of response which does not facilitate workers’ willingness to come forward and report harassment. Employers should be reminded that harassment complaints can be valid, even when no one else will come forward to corroborate the allegations.”
The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC’s Baltimore Field Office, one of four component offices of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.