Genesco/Journeys Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment And Retaliation Suit

ALBUQUERQUE -- A large national shoe retailer, Genesco, Inc., doing business as Journeys, has agreed to settle a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $20,000, the agency announced on 7/1/2011. The EEOC had charged the company with subjecting three teenaged female workers at an Albuquerque Journeys store to sexual harassment.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, EEOC v. Genesco Inc., d/b/a Journeys, 09-CV-952 WJ/RHS, charged that Genesco violated federal anti-discrimination laws when it subjected Lauren Torres, who was 16 at the time, and two other female workers, aged 16 and 19 at the time, to sexual harassment by an assistant manager. The EEOC’s suit also alleged that Torres was retaliated against after complaining about the harassment when her hours were reduced and she was subjected to retaliatory comments by other Genesco managers.

Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The case settled with a consent decree, which requires Genesco to provide its employees in its Albuquerque stores with anti-discrimination training and notice of the settlement, and to report other complaints to EEOC for the decree’s duration. Genesco also agreed that it will not rehire the alleged harassing official and that it will take steps to take compliance with equal employment opportunity into consideration when evaluating its managers and determining manager eligibility for bonuses.

“We are very pleased that Genesco/Journeys agreed to resolve this case,” said Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office. “The positive steps that the company has agreed to take to help prevent sexual harassment and retaliation in its retail stores are very important measures because of the significant number of teens and very young adults it employs. Our nation’s youth deserve every opportunity to work without fear of harassment or retaliation.”

EEOC Phoenix Deputy Director Elizabeth Cadle added, “Federal law protects a woman’s right to work without harassment because of her sex. Violations of the law will be met with rigorous enforcement by our agency, especially when, as here, the victims are teenagers or very young adults, who are especially vulnerable to mistreatment by supervisors.”

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