A federal jury awarded $20,251,963 to eight former employees of Four Amigos Travel, Inc. and Top Dog Travel, Inc., a Florida vacation agency with offices in Largo, Orlando and Lake Lauderdale, Fla., who suffered sexual harassment and retaliation. The verdict was announced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently. It was alleged by the EEOC, which filed suit on behalf of the four employees, that travel agency owner R. Schlom and male managers working at Four Amigos / Top Dog's Largo facility subjected female employees to egregious sexual harassment every day. The harassment included unwanted sexual advances, physical touching and repeated propositions for sex (quid pro quo) in a work environment filled with sexual banter, abuse of power and disrespect for women. The company also fired a manager for bringing the victims' complaints forward, according to the suit.
Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case was tried by EEOC Senior Trial Attorneys Gregory L. McClinton and Aarrin B. Golson in the Florida.
The jury verdict included $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages to five former employees. The court awarded the employees $99,876 in back pay. The jury also awarded two former female employees, Anne Patricia Matacchiero and Lisamarie Huskey-Egan, along with former manager Brian Egan, $1.25 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages. These three employees were awarded an additional $402,087 in back pay.
"This was a long journey for these women who were forced to work under unspeakable conditions at this workplace," said Gregory Lee McClinton, the EEOC's lead attorney in the case. "Their testimony about how the harassment occurred and how it affected their lives was very powerful."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov. EEOC Sexual Harassment Information