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Laundry company settles sexual abuse case involving immigrant women

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A laundry services company has agreed to pay $582,000 to settle U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges that its manager physically and verbally sexually abused multiple women immigrants who worked at its facility, the agency said Tuesday.

The EEOC said the manager at Southampton, New York-based Suffolk Laundry Services Inc. regularly touched the women, forcibly kissed them and made comments about their appearance and body parts over several years. The workers were all recent immigrants from Mexico or Central America who did not speak English, the EEOC said in its statement.

Under terms of the settlement agreement, the company will pay the $582,000 to eight former employees, the EEOC said. It has also agreed to a four-year consent decree barring discrimination, instituting new procedures and mandating sexual harassment training, the EEOC said.

Kevin Berry, the director of EEOC's New York district office, said in the statement, “It took great courage for these women to come forward and participate in this case. We hope that others know that we will continue to protect the rights of vulnerable workers.”

The company's attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.

The EEOC said in October that two companies that operated a joint potato packing plant in Monte Vista, Colorado, will pay $450,000 to settle a lawsuit where allegedly more than a dozen women were subjected to regular verbal sexual harassment and unwelcome physical conduct from a supervisor.