Federal Agency Finds Female Employees Were Subjected to Sexual Harassment and Then Fired Those Who Complained

CHICAGO – Rural Office of Community Services Inc., a Wagner, South Dakota-based social services agency, which serves low-income families and individuals across multiple locations in South Dakota, will pay $320,000 in monetary relief to a class of affected employees to voluntarily resolve an employment discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The agreement resolves a charge filed with the EEOC alleging Rural Office of Community Services Inc. discriminated against employees because of their sex by subjecting them to sexual harassment and retaliated against certain employees who complained by terminating them. The EEOC found that the female employees were harassed by executive director. Despite complaints to management and the board of directors, the EEOC found the harassment continued over several years.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex and prohibits retaliating against individuals for complaining about such conduct.

“This case shows sex-based harassment continues to be a problem, and employers are responsible for immediately stopping and preventing such behavior,” said EEOC Chicago District Director Julianne Bowman. “By resolving this matter through the conciliation process, Rural Office of Community Services has avoided protracted litigation.”

Aside from the monetary relief, Rural Office of Community Services has also agreed to update its policies and practices regarding internal discrimination complaints, reporting to the EEOC, and training for all employees and managers.

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota, with area offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.