The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing The Original HoneyBaked Ham Co. of Georgia Inc. for alleged severe and pervasive sexual harassment at its Colorado stores. The lawsuit also accuses the company of retaliating against female employees who complained about the misconduct.
In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Wendy Cabrera, a manager at the Highlands Ranch store, and other women suffered from repeat and offensive unwanted sexual comments, innuendos and physical touching by their regional manager despite frequent protests.
The EEOC said a number of the women were disciplined or discharged by the company for complaining up the chain of command about the treatment.
"Cases such as this one show that sexual harassment is still a prevalent problem in the modern workplace," said EEOC Phoenix district regional attorney Mary Jo ONeill in a statement
The Original HoneyBaked Ham Co. issued a statement Monday saying it "does not and will not tolerate any act of sexual harassment."
"When the allegations arose in 2010, we investigated, conducted a full review of the allegations and took immediate actions," the company said. "It is the policy of The HoneyBaked Ham Co. that all associates should be able to enjoy a work atmosphere free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment."
The EEOC is asked for back pay and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Cabrera and the other women.
The EEOC is also asking the court to require all managers and human resources personnel undergo training in antidiscrimination law, including best practices for identifying, investigating and eliminating sexual harassment from the workforce.
HoneyBaked Ham has 10 stores in Colorado.
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