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EEOC Sues Convenience Stores Owner for Condoning Sexual Harassment

Not every employer understands it can be liable for sexual harassment regardless of whether a manager, employee, independent contractor, or even a customer is the offender.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) recently filed suit against Kelley Williamson Company (KW) illustrates an employer’s broad responsibilities to prevent, investigate and remedy such abuses.

The EEOC contends that although a store employee and others had complained to management for months about unwanted sexual advances by a male customer, KW violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by doing nothing to stop the harassment.  The suit also alleges that in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act the store manager shared the victim’s private medical information with other, unauthorized personnel.

The EEOC seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the harassed employee as well as other orders to prevent such bad behavior in the future.

The EEOC’s Chicago District Director stated:

“This case serves as a reminder that employers are required to make reasonable efforts to stop all sexual harassment of their employees on the job — including harassment by customers and members of the public. Employers who know their employees are being harassed and don’t even try to stop it can be held liable for that harassment under the law.”


  • No matter the accused abuser, always take steps to protect employees from being harassed, whether sexually or otherwise.
  • Protect the privacy of employee medical records by securing them in separate files with access only by authorized personnel.

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

See also:

Helena Kobrin
March 4, 2022

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