DALLAS (CN) – A high school spirit products company has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Arlington-based B&E Industries, doing business as Spirit Stop, will pay $67,500 to two former employees.
According to the complaint, women were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. The EEOC said the women were repeatedly subjected to crude and demeaning comments and conduct by a supervisor while working as salespeople who marketed spirit items such as team flags, cups and hats to high schools.
The items are provided to the schools for free in exchange for advertisements for sponsoring businesses being featured on the items. Football and basketball teams at more than 9,000 high schools annually accept these items, according to the company.
According to the EEOC, the harassment and verbal abuse occurred on the sales floor and in meetings.
“There is a definite difference between high-pressure sales and harassment,” Robert Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Dallas Office, said in a statement. “This sales manager subjected these women to rude and derogatory comments because of their gender, which is clearly illegal.”
Under the 2-year consent decree, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Cummings, he company must have employees attend sexual harassment and discrimination training annually. And it must hold its supervisors accountable for providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, to reaffirm its policy against discrimination and to post a notice about sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.
“EEOC is pleased that these women are being compensated for the humiliating and embarrassing comments they were forced to endure just to earn an honest day’s pay,” said EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Suzanne M. Anderson. “The safeguards put into place in this consent decree should ensure that supervisors at B&E Industries treat their female employees appropriately and with respect.”