A Harasser for All Seasons

Now here’s a manager who seemingly has no issue with harassing women, African Americans and foreign-born employees. And now the company, an Ithaca, N.Y. manufacturer, is settling the EEOC’s case which alleged sex, race and national origin discrimination, for $93,000.

Nothing seemed beneath him: as the EEOC claimed, a noose for the only black employee (a noose – no surprise there); unwanted sexual advances and vulgar names for women employees; and slurs (“terrorist”) and the mocking of foreign-born employees’ language – who he “urged … to leave America.”

This fellow sure has a lot of hate.

But the worst part of this story is that the company apparently knew about it and, well … “[t]he company owner, rather than putting a stop to the behavior, also treated female employees more harshly than males.”

Takeaway

Today’s takeaway is easy.

Amy (the Notorious AEG) and I have written and taught often that a respectful and compliant workplace must be one in which there is top down respect and compliance, which the EEOC regional attorney confirmed in the EEOC’s latest press release:

“Harassment prevention starts at the top. And just having an anti-harassment policy doesn’t cut it. When owners and executives aren’t committed to a respectful workplace, abuse can often follow.”

“Top down” – easy to remember.

Just don’t forget.

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected].com