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Walmart to settle EEOC sexual harassment suit

Posted On: Jun. 14, 2021 5:50 PM CST


A Walmart Inc. unit will pay $410,000 to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit in which, it was charged, a Geneva, New York, male employee sexually harassed female employees for years although Walmart management knew of the conduct.

Walmart said in a statement the employee was terminated in 2008.

Walmart said in its statement that from 2014 to 2018 the employee regularly made unwelcome sexual, vulgar comments and advances to female co-workers and touched them inappropriately. He also repeatedly invited female employees to hang out with him despite being rejected, among other offensive conduct.

The EEOC said a female employee who had reported his misconduct to management multiple times was forced to resign when Walmart did not stop the harassment.

Under the three-year consent decree settling the case, Walmart Stores East LP will pay $175,000 to the woman who was forced to resign and $235,000 to a class of victims. The decree also requires employee training, among other provisions.

“Sexual harassment causes damage in any workplace, but it is especially pernicious when it affects multiple victims over several years,” said Jeffrey Burstein, regional attorney for the EEOC’s New York district office, in a statement.

“We are pleased that Walmart has agreed to take steps to make its workplace safer and more respectful, including by educating its management employees about their responsibility to prevent and eradicate sexual harassment.”

Walmart said in a statement, “We don’t tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and want all our associates to feel welcome and respected. We have strong policies prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation,” and terminated the employee in 2018.

“We have cooperated with the EEOC and will be reinforcing our policies with the store manager and associates at the store. We are glad we could reach a resolution,” Walmart said.

In September, Walmart agreed to pay $20 million to settle an EEOC lawsuit and stop using a pre-employment test that allegedly disproportionately excluded female applicants, the agency said.