The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has demonstrated its increased focus on sexual harassment through the filing of seven lawsuits across the nation recently. This should reinforce to employers that harassment is a violation of federal law.

The recent lawsuits allege sexual harassment against employers in Ohio, California, Texas, Missouri, Alabama and New Mexico. A hostile work environment based on sexual harassment was alleged in each of the seven lawsuits. In every case, a Letter of Determination finding reasonable cause to believe Title VII was violated was issued within the past year, with most determinations being made within the last few months. The suits filed by the EEOC follow a meeting at agency headquarters in Washington D.C., that reconvened the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.

In this blog, I will focus attention on the agency’s Dallas District Office’s recent lawsuit.  The EEOC filed suit against G2 Corporation for subjecting a female worker in the Patio Screen Door Fabrication warehouse in Corsicana, Texas to unwelcome physical and verbal sexual harassment at the hands of her production manager and another high level corporate officer. According to the EEOC, in February 2016, the female employee was directed by the production manager to clean the restrooms in the facility. The manager then followed her into both the men’s and women’s restrooms while making sexual comments and attempting to force himself on her. On other occasions, the production manager made vulgar and threatening comments to the female subordinate about her body, and what he intended to do with her sexually. The harassment victim said that the company Vice President also made graphic, intimidating sexual comments to her.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on sex.  Victoria A. Lipnic, EEOC Acting Chair, commented, “As the nation has seen over the past nine months, harassment at work can affect individuals for years in their careers and livelihoods. There are many consequences that flow from harassment not being addressed in our nation’s workplaces. These suits filed by the EEOC around the country are a reminder that a federal enforcement action by the EEOC is potentially one of those consequences.”