JW Marriott Sued by EEOC for Sexual Harassment

Las Vegas Resort Staff Were Constantly Touched and Demeaned by Their Supervisor, Federal Agency Charges

LAS VEGAS — JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf violated federal law by failing to prevent and correct the ongoing sexual harassment of female resort staff, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed last month.

Since about 2003, at least two female restaurant servers at the resort in Las Vegas were subjected to aggressive sexual harassment by a male co-worker who later became their supervisor, according to the EEOC. The EEOC contends that the harasser repeatedly engaged in verbal and physical harassment including rubbing his body against the women, groping them, and consistently making vulgar remarks. The EEOC asserts that the harassment continued until the harasser was discharged in December 2007, but that JW Marriott failed to sufficiently prevent and correct the harassment despite official complaints dating back to 2006, a direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (EEOC v. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf, Case No. 2:10-cv-02265), after efforts to reach a pre-litigation settlement failed. The EEOC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of any and all victims found during the course of litigation as well as injunctive relief to prevent future sexual harassment.

“These women worked in fear on a daily basis,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office. “Unchecked sexual harassment can escalate and erode the work environment; this behavior should not be tolerated.”

Lucy Orta, local director for the EEOC’s Las Vegas Office, added, “As a preventive measure, employers should train and encourage staff to report illegal harassment, and advise them that there would be no retaliation for doing so. Upon any sign of harassment, employers must act quickly and effectively address such flagrant violations of the law.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.