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A customer service company has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit in which it was charged with allegedly subjecting male and female employees to sexual harassment.
An official of Irvine, California-based Alorica Inc. said in a statement the company disputes the lawsuit’s allegations and settled to avoid protracted litigation.
The EEOC said in Wednesday’s statement that employees at Alorica’s Fresno and Clovis, California, facilities were subjected to the harassment, and that on-site human resources staff failed to properly address the harassment despite employees’ repeated complaints. The company was charged with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, in addition to paying $3.5 million to a class of sexual harassment victims, the company agreed to a three-year consent decree that includes hiring a third-party monitor, among other provisions.
“Sexual harassment continues to be a pressing issue in our region and we urge employers to take more proactive measures to prevent such misconduct,” Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles district, said in the EEOC statement. “We commend Alorica for working with the EEOC to create and implement measures that will prevent future abuses.”
“While we dispute all allegations in the complaint and believe we would have been vindicated if we had decided to litigate, this settlement allows us to focus our time and resources on directly enhancing our employee programs, including harassment prevention, rather than on protracted litigation,” Tania King, Alorica’s chief employee experience and legal officer, said in a statement. “Harassment of any kind is unacceptable and ensuring that we have a respectful and inclusive workplace environment continues to be our top priority.”
In July, two Illinois International House of Pancakes L.L.C. franchisees agreed to pay $975,000 to settle a systemic sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the EEOC in which they were charged with harassing female employees, including teenagers, and a male employee.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed seven lawsuits charging firms across the country with sexual harassment Wednesday, which it said should reinforce to employers that harassment violates federal law.