UPDATE: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission files federal lawsuit against Davis Typewriter of Worthington

WORTHINGTON – A federal lawsuit was filed today by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Davis Typewriter Company of Worthington, alleging the company failed to take action against a manager who used the store’s surveillance equipment to sexually harass an employee.

According to the complaint filed today, a former employee of Davis Typewriter filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, alleging Davis Typewriter operations manager Stanley Alm subjected the employee to pervasive sexual harassment. The employee alleges Alm manipulated the company’s security camera system to conduct ongoing surreptitious video surveillance of the employee, focusing on her face, chest and body.

When the employee discovered the harassing conduct in July 2010, she notified both the president of the company and the manager. Court documents state the company failed to take appropriate action, resulting in a hostile work environment.

During its investigation of the charge of discrimination, the EEOC determined there was reasonable cause to support the employee’s claim of constructive discharge. EEOC representatives attempted to conciliate with Davis, but that efforts were deemed unsuccessful.

The lawsuit requests the court to carry out policies to provide equal employment and eradicate the effects of past and present unlawful employment practices. They also ask that the employee provide back pay and benefits, compensation for losses, punitive damages for malicious and reckless comment and award the EEOC cost of the court action.

President Larry Davis did not return a phone call regarding the lawsuit.

John Rowe, director of the EEOC's Chicago District, which includes Minnesota, said in a press release the investigation which preceded the lawsuit, revealed a particularly egregious case of sexual harassment. No one, he said, should ever have to worry that this constant monitoring is being used to satisfy their boss's sexual fantasy.

John Hendrickson, the EEOC regional attorney in Chicago, said it appears Davis Typewriter learned about Alm’s unlawful behavior, but refused to take the steps necessary to assure it would not ever happen again. Employers who fail to take reasonable, simple measures to protect victims from further sexual harassment do so at their peril, he added.

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