DoubleTree Hotel pays $45,000, changes policies to settle sexual harassment case

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 4:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WIBW) - The DoubleTree Hotel will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

The DoubleTree Hotel says its Jefferson City, Mo., location will pay $45,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit which was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC says an operator of the DoubleTree in Jefferson City violated federal law when allowing a male room inspector to sexually harass a female housekeeper. It says that Vinca Enterprises, Inc., failed to stop the room inspector from regularly making offensive sexual comments and engaging in unwanted physical contact with a female housekeeper.

According to the EEOC, the alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits sexual harassment and retaliation of reporting it. It says the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Missouri, alleges that while management and the owner were aware of the inspector’s unwelcome comments and behavior, Vinca failed to investigate or take appropriate action to stop the harassment and protect the employee.

The EEOC says the two-year consent decree settles the suit and was entered by Judge Nanette K. Laughery and requires Vinca Enterprises to pay compensatory damages to the housekeeper. It also says Vinca must take steps to prevent future discrimination and harassment against employees as well as hire a consultant to assess workplace risk factors associated with sexual harassment, report the findings to the EEOC, implement stronger policies and procedures prohibiting sexual harassment, establish investigation procedures and report sexual harassment complaints to the EEOC.

“Employers are responsible for preventing workplace harassment. Unfortunately, housekeeping employees at hotels are particularly vulnerable to such harassment and often believe they have no recourse,” said Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s Regional Attorney in St. Louis. “Sexual harassment is unlawful and bad for business.”

L. Jack Vasquez, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District office, said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The EEOC is committed to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. But when harassment does occur, we encourage affected employees to report the harassment to their employers and, if necessary, to the EEOC to ensure the unlawful conduct does not continue.”

The EEOC says it is charged with enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including sexual harassment. It says the St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and part of southern Illinois.

For more information on the EEOC visit its website.

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