News : LA Call Center Firm Sued by US for Sex Harassment
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Los Angeles, Sept 24, 2014 -- An international call center company based in Los Angeles was sued Wednesday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for widespread sexual harassment against female and male employees who were allegedly groped, shown pornographic images and propositioned by supervisors.
The EEOC said VXI Global Solutions had violated federal law by failing to curb the behavior, making it difficult for employees to file complaints and then disciplining and even firing some who reported the abuse.
The company, which has 15,000 employees in the U.S., Asia and Latin America, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Anna Park, the regional EEOC attorney, said the case is unique because women and men were subjected to the abuse. The men endured an additional layer of harassment when they were mocked as not being masculine when they objected to the behavior.
"It's telling that you have both men and women who were harassed," Park said. "That exemplifies the pervasiveness of the problem."
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court said the abuse dated back five years and was perpetuated by a male floor manager who created a hostile work environment with other supervisors at an LA call center.
Women employees were subjected to groping, sexual propositions and lewd commentary about their bodies. Sexually harassing comments included talk of having a threesome with a woman who worked there and a joke about raping a female colleague.
One female supervisor is alleged to have given unwanted backrubs to men in the office, and a female supervisor allegedly tried to give a lap dance to a male employee.
"When the male employees objected to the sexual comments or to the sexual images being shown, they were subjected to further sexual harassment through sexual stereotyping for not being what a man should be by being called a 'fag' or 'gay,' " the lawsuit said.
Those who complained were fired, disciplined, given warnings or intimidated. Some were told that "snitches get stitches," the lawsuit said. In one instance, those who complained had to attend a reading from a book about violence against people who complained about wrongdoing.
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The complaint said the behavior should have been well known to management because of the open layout of the office.
The lawsuit seeks to have the company bar such behavior, comply with federal law, provide training to employees to prevent future abuse and compensate employees for lost wages and the humiliation they suffered.
Six women and three men are represented by the EEOC, but Park said she expects others will come forward.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About VXI Global Solutions:
With more than 28,000 employees across 42 delivery centers, VXI Global Solutions is a leader in customer experience management, operations management and digital IT solution. Established in 1998, the company delivers business services and technology solutions tailored for clients to deliver superior customer experience (CX). With a diverse workforce and customer experience centers in North and Latin America, Caribbean, Europe and Asia Pacific, VXI drives high Net Promoter Score (NPS) through its unified digital service strategy, customer management solutions and proprietary productivity/efficiency-enhancing technology platform.
About Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal law enforcement agency, that enforces laws against workplace discrimination.
Published: Friday, September 26, 2014
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