Canadian hotel operators agree to settle sexual harassment suit


Two Canadian-based hotel operators have agreed to pay $370,00 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which charged them with permitting a male maintenance/housekeeping manager to sexually harass two female housekeepers.

The lawsuit was filed against Edmonton, Canada-based GIPHX10 LLC and Jaffer Inc. in connection with the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham hotel in Kent, Washington.

The EEOC said the abuse including groping the women when they were alone cleaning hotels room, mocking them for objecting to the assaults, making sexually explicit comments to them and repeatedly threatening one of the workers with rape.

The EEOC said the companies did not conduct a thorough investigation after one of the housekeepers reported the harassment to the general manager with the help of a bilingual co-worker, and simply accepted the manager’s denial of the allegations.

The EEOC charged the general manager then retaliated against the housekeeper by cutting her work hours and denying her an hourly raise given to other housekeepers.

The companies were charged with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

In addition to paying $370,00 to the two workers, the three-year consent decree settling the suit requires the companies to retain an independent consultant to help them develop policies and procedures to recognize, prevent and correct sexual harassment and retaliation, including an internal complaint system, among other provisions.

EEOC San Francisco District Director Nancy Sienko said in a statement, “Employers should ensure that workers receive information regarding harassment policies in a manner and language they understand, which in this case would have been Spanish.”

The companies’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

The EEOC said earlier this month that a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, whose owner allegedly sexually harassed female employees, agreed to pay $361,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the agency.

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