Employers in California and throughout the entire U.S. are responsible for making sure that the rights of their employees are protected when incidents involving discrimination, retaliation or sexual harassment arise in the workplace.
When an employee attempts to express his or her concerns about a hostile work environment, the employer must address the individual's concerns. Unfortunately, many employees discover that their concerns are not handled appropriately. Some may even experience retaliation from managers or co-workers for bringing awareness to problems in the workplace.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that the agency is suing The Original HoneyBaked Ham Co. of Georgia Inc. for failing to properly address sexual harassment complaints and for retaliating against several female employees who reported the misconduct. HoneyBaked Ham has dozens of stores across the nation, including several in the San Diego area.
According to the lawsuit, a manager at one of the company's stores reported that her regional manager had sexually harassed her. Other female employees also reported incidents of sexual harassment involving the same regional manager. The harassment included: sexual comments, innuendos and unwanted touching.
The female employees told upper management about the repeated incidents, but instead of addressing the serious concerns, the women claim that they were disciplined. Some were even discharged.
HoneyBaked Ham denies the allegations and claims that the company immediately addressed, investigated and reviewed the complaints when they were first reported in 2010.
In addition to seeking back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the female employees involved, the EEOC is also requesting that managers at HoneyBaked Ham be required to participate in training to better identify and handle sexual harassment complaints in the future.
Source: ABC 7News, "EEOC Sues HoneyBaked Ham For Sexual Harassment," Deb Stanley, Oct. 3, 2011