Los Angeles, CA (Law Firm Newswire) November 27, 2017 – A federal agency sued a California senior care provider for ignoring complaints about an elderly client’s sexual harassment and racial discrimination of a black female caregiver and at least four other workers.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Home Instead Senior Care franchisee R. MacArthur Corporation. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Rashon Sturdivant was a caregiver for an 80-year-old man in Alameda, California between March and May 2015. The client allegedly sexually harassed Sturdivant and four other female caregivers from 2015 until his death in June 2016. They were providing in-home assistance to him.
“Employers are required to ensure workers are protected from harassment of any kind,” Strong Advocates Executive Director Betsy Havens commented. “This holds true even when it is not a typical workplace, like a client’s home, as in this case. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who speaks up about any misconduct they experience in the workplace.”
The EEOC found Sturdivant faced verbal attacks including offensive comments about her body, requests for sexual favors and racially offensive remarks. The man called her “the pretty dark one” and “brown sugar.” The verbal comments, however, allegedly escalated to unwanted touching and groping when she carried out everyday tasks like cleaning him or helping him sit up. The client also engaged in inappropriate touching in front of her.
Sturdivant and the other caregivers complained to R. MacArthur about the client’s misconduct. However, the EEOC charged that the senior care company failed to respond to their reports of harassment and refused to take any action to end it. In addition, the employer allegedly stopped referring Sturdivant to other clients in retaliation for her reporting the harassment to her superiors. She was told to apply for a job elsewhere.
The caregivers are seeking back pay and other damages. The lawsuit is also asking for an injunction to prevent any incidents of discrimination in the future.
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