SUNBURY, Pa. (WHTM) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Weis Markets Inc. for alleged sexual harassment and unlawful use of an employee assistance program involving a former female employee in Mifflintown.
According to the EEOC, a Weis supervisor allegedly “subjected a female employee to unwelcome and offensive sexual harassment” including comments, winking, and a kiss on the employee’s face without consent.
The EEOC says the lawsuit alleges Weis “failed to take reasonable corrective action against the supervisor after the employee reported the sexual harassment and the supervisor admitted some of his conduct.”
Additionally, the EEOC says following the sexual harassment complaint, Weis told the female employee that coworkers complained about her and that she would be required to participate in an employee assistance program.
The assistance program would’ve mandated the employee to release medical information, undergo a medical exam, and respond to disability-related inquiries. A company official told the woman this was necessary “to determine whether she would be placed on disability leave,” according to the EEOC.
After the woman refused to comply, the EEOC says Weis suspended her without pay and discharged her.
The EEOC says the alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Title VII requires employers to make diligent efforts to prevent and correct workplace sexual harassment,” said Philadelphia District Office Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The EEOC will continue to hold employers accountable for their failure to protect workers from such abuses.”
Philadelphia EEOC District Director Jamie Williamson added, “Employees have a right under the ADA not to be forced by their employers to participate in medical exams and inquiries that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity. The EEOC will not permit employers to interfere with that important ADA right or to retaliate against employees who exercise it.”
In a statement to abc27, Weis Markets said “We can’t talk about the specifics of this lawsuit, or the people involved, due to ongoing litigation. We can say, however, that we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment – one that encourages and supports our diverse workforce to fully contribute to our business and one that does not stand for discrimination, bullying, or harassment of any kind.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.