Nursing Facility Tolerated Sexual Harassment of Female Employees and Retaliated Against an Employee Who Reported Harassment
MONTROSE, Colo. – SSC Montrose San Juan Operating Co., LLC, SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services, LLC, and Sava Senior Care LLC (collectively, “Sava”) violated federal law by tolerating the sexual harassment of female employees by Sava’s clients at the San Juan Living Center in Montrose, Colorado, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, clients at the San Juan Living Center repeatedly subjected female employees to sexual harassment. The EEOC alleged that Sava’s clients would grab female employees’ breasts and buttocks, ask them for sexual favors, and use inappropriate sexual language around them. The EEOC further alleged that female employees complained about the harassment to Sava management and that Sava was aware of the ongoing harassment. According to the EEOC, Sava did nothing to stop the harassment or prevent future harassment.
The EEOC also alleged that Sava retaliated against a female employee who reported the harassment by suspending her without pay and firing her within days of her complaint.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado (EEOC v. SSC Montrose San Juan Operating Co., LLC, SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services, LLC, and Sava Senior Care LLC, Civil Action No.20-CV-03162) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the female employees subjected to the sexual harassment, backpay for the employee subjected to retaliation, and appropriate injunctive relief to prevent similar discrimination in the future.
“Employers must ensure that their employees can work in an environment free from sexual harassment,” said regional attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “When an employer learns that an employee is being sexually harassed, the employer must act immediately regardless of whether the alleged harasser is a manager, employee, or client.”
Amy Burkholder, director of EEOC’s Denver Field Office, added, “It is absolutely critical that employers develop policies and procedures to ensure that employees who report harassment are not punished for doing so. Employees should be applauded for coming forward but, too often, we see employees punished for protesting illegal discrimination.”
EEOC’s Phoenix District Office has jurisdiction for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and part of New Mexico (including Albuquerque).
EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.