On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that a Chicago dental practice agreed to pay $462,500 to settle a class sexual and religious harassment and retaliation lawsuit. (EEOC, et al. v. James L. Orrington D.M.D., Ltd.).
In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that the dentist discriminated against eighteen employees by subjecting them to sexual harassment, including sexual propositions, comments and touching. Additionally, the EEOC alleged that the dentist forced employees to learn about Scientology and engage in Scientology religious practices. Employees, who complained about the sexual or religious harassment, were subject to retaliation.
In addition to the monetary relief, the three year consent decree requires the dentist to: (1) contract with an outside representative to investigate complaints of sexual or religious harassment, (2) adopt and distribute a policy against sexual harassment, religious discrimination and harassment, (3) provide training to employees, (4) submit periodic reports to the EEOC about complaints of sexual and religious harassment and retaliation, and (5) post a notice at its facility regarding the outcome of the lawsuit.