California-based VXI Global Solutions is being accused by a group of female and male employees of maintaining a hostile work environment. The workers, both past and present employees, turned to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to help them after they were allegedly subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation. The plaintiffs allege that the abuse began in 2009 and was conducted by 13 male and female harassers in supervisory roles.
The female plaintiffs claim that they were subjected to unwanted physical contact and propositions for sex. Their male supervisors would also purportedly make lewd sexual comments that would cause them to feel uncomfortable. The male plaintiffs faced similar issues and were given unsolicited lap dances by their female superiors and were subjected to crude details of sexual behavior. When the male plaintiffs refused to tolerate the behavior, they were accused of being homosexual because they would not participate.
The plaintiffs were allegedly threatened by their superiors to attempt to stop them from reporting the activity. Despite the threats, the plaintiffs still tried to report the sexual harassment to members of human resources, but the HR representatives never seemed to be available. Eventually, the plaintiffs were able to report the harassment, but they apparently did not receive the expected outcome. Several of the workers who complained were suddenly fired or disciplined.
A California federal court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $600,000 for their sexual harassment complaint. Additionally, VXI Global Solutions will be monitored by the EEOC for the next four years, and it must post a notice about what has occurred. The company must also revisit its sexual harassment policies and procedures and maintain a system that will track any complaints. Global will also be required to provide training to its workers as well as training for supervisors so they will know how to handle these situations should they occur going forward.
Source: hrmorning.com, “Double whammy in EEOC settlement ends in $600k price tag“, Tim Gould, Sept. 16, 2015