The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced
it prevailed in a federal court case against Costco Wholesale, Inc. A female employee who worked at Costco in Glenview, Illinois complained to management about alleged harassment by a customer, including unwelcome touching, unwelcome advances, and stalking. The employee obtained a restraining order, but alleged that Costco took no effective action to prevent the harassment.
At trial, a federal jury unanimously found in favor of the employee and awarded her $250,000 in compensatory damages.
"Today's verdict reinforces EEOC's commitment to protecting every woman's right to a safe, secure, and fair workplace," said Julianne Bowman, District Director of EEOC's Chicago District, which includes Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and most of Illinois. "It sends a clear message to employers that they cannot sit idly by when their employees are harassed in the workplace." Regional Attorney for the Chicago District Office, John Hendrickson said, "This case is an important reminder that employers have a duty to protect its employees from harassment by customers."