EEOC: Tennessee cruise company pays $50,000 after retaliation allegations

By Mark Iandolo | Dec 27, 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced Dec. 18 that American Queen Steamboat Company, a cruise business in Memphis, will pay $50,000 after allegations of retaliation.

According to allegations, a cruise director at American Queen was fired in May 2015 after he complained to management about the harassment a fellow co-worker was receiving. The cruise director also called out a high-ranking manager and friend of the alleged harasser for improperly handling the victim’s first sexual harassment complaint. The cruise director was allegedly fired for speaking up on behalf of his coworker.

"The EEOC is committed to protecting employees who stand up and complain when they see a co-worker being unlawfully sexually harassed," said EEOC New York regional attorney Jeffrey Burstein. "We are pleased this employer will be taking steps to ensure that its managers are fully aware of their obligation not to retaliate and that employees are protected from retaliation in the future."

In addition to a monetary penalty, Judge Sheryl H. Lipman ordered an injunction that bars American Queen from future discrimination and retaliation. American Queen also must enact better anti-discrimination policies and business practices.

"2017 has been a groundbreaking year for exposing sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Kevin Berry, the EEOC's New York District director. “For sexual harassment to end, we need to make sure that the victims of harassment and their allies are not penalized for coming forward."

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