The EEOC has filed a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against 5042 Holdings Ltd., doing business as The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs. Two male employees allegedly subjected Candace Bland and other female Country Inn workers, including several teenagers, to ongoing and offensive sexual harassment during 2007 and 2008.
The EEOC lawsuit claims that the male employees repeatedly used offensive language and engaged in offensive and unwelcome touching of the women, including grabbing their breasts, slapping their buttocks, and kissing them.
After Bland and the other female employees complained to the owners of Country Inn at Berkeley Springs, Stjepan Sostaric and Nancy Sostaric, as well as to other managers, they did not take adequate measures to stop the harassment and hostile work environment. Furthermore, after Bland filed a complaint with the EEOC, the work hours of the women who complained about the harassment were drastically reduced.
“It is unacceptable for an employer to punish employees who complain about sexual harassment by reducing their work hours and thereby reducing their income. Retaliation like this has a chilling effect on those who choose to exercise their federally protected rights and is blatantly illegal,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence.