Dave’s Supermarket Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit for $300,000

CLEVELAND – Dave’s Supermarket will pay $300,000 to four women to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on 5/6/2011.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Jugoslav Vidic, a former meat department manager at a Dave’s market at the Lee-Harvard Shopping Center on Cleveland's east side, made repeated and unwanted sexual advances to female employees and that upper management, aware of his behavior, failed to stop it. According to the EEOC, the sexual harassment included an incident during which Vidic allegedly exposed himself to a newly hired female employee. The EEOC alleged that the female employee complained to Dave’s Supermarket about the incident, but that management did not investigate or discipline Vidic. According to the EEOC, Dave’s Supermarket finally fired Vidic after another female employee complained that Vidic sexually harassed her.

Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit, No. 1:09-cv-02119, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the monetary relief for four discrimination victims, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides for mandatory training of all staff on sexual harassment and the company’s obligations under Title VII, with an emphasis on the definition of sexual harassment, maintaining a harassment-free workplace, and the laws prohibiting unlawful retaliation. The decree also requires management and/or supervisor accountability concerning sexual harassment and posting of a notice to inform employees about the lawsuit and provide the EEOC’s contact information.

“The decree here sends the same signal to employers that the EEOC has been sending for some time: sexual harassment is prohibited and the EEOC will move swiftly to stop it,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Employers must promptly and thoroughly investigate sexual harassment complaints and must take effective steps to eliminate such harassment.”

Dave’s Supermarket is a Cleveland-based grocery store chain which operates 13 stores in Northern Ohio, employing more that 1,500 full- and part-time workers.

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