EEOC targets candle business that allegedly fired employee who complained of sexual harassment

By Mark Iandolo | Jul 19, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit July 7 against Amy’s Country Candles LLC, a manufacturer and purveyor of scented candles with headquarters in Harvey, Louisana, for allegations of firing an employee who complained about sexual harassment.

"Companies that punish employees for complaining about sexual harassment or any other unlawful misconduct are only making a bad situation worse for themselves,” said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's Houston District Office. “The EEOC will aggressively ensure that employees are free to exercise their rights without fear of retaliation."

According to allegations, an assistant manager at Amy’s Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales, Louisiana, was fired because she complained about sexual harassment by the store owner’s son. The employee purportedly told the owner directly, four hours after the alleged harassment. Four days later, the employee was fired despite having no job-related problems. EEOC says the owner’s reason for the firing was that the employee “continued with the matter.”

"Federal and established Supreme Court law are very clear on this issue," said Rayford O. Irvin, director of the EEOC's Houston District Office, which serves Louisiana and East Texas. "Employees have a right to complain about practices they view as unlawful without repercussions. This woman fairly sought to assert that right and was unlawfully and unconscionably fired for it. The EEOC is here to fight for the rights of people in such a situation."

EEOC seeks monetary relief for the former employee along with a change in business practices at Amy’s Country Candles to prevent future discrimination.

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