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April 24, 2014

SunTrust Bank Sued by EEOC in Class Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Federal  Agency Charged Sarasota Branch Manager Subjected Women to a  Sexually Hostile Work Environment

TAMPA, Fla. – SunTrust Banks, Inc., one of the nation’s largest providers  of financial services, violated federal law when a branch manager sexually  harassed three female employees at its Sarasota, Fla., Gulf Gate Branch Office  location, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged  in a lawsuit filed June 14, 2012. 

According to the EEOC’s class suit, SunTrust’s  branch manager inappropriately touched female employees and made lewd and  unwelcomed comments to them about their anatomy, sex life and dating habits.  The EEOC alleges that on one occasion, the  branch manager suggested that a female financial services representative put on  a bathing suit to attract new customers. 

The EEOC complaint alleges that the women were  offended and intimidated by the harassment.   Several women complained to SunTrust management, including SunTrust’s human  resources department.  SunTrust failed to  take appropriate action to properly remedy the situation.

Such alleged conduct violates  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   The EEOC filed suit (Case No. 8:12 cv-1325 33MAP) in U.S. District Court  for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, after attempting to reach a  voluntary settlement. 

Atlanta-based  SunTrust employs approximately 28,000 people nationwide and operates more than  1,665 branches. 

“Under Title VII, employers are responsible for protecting  their workers against sexual harassment,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional  attorney of the EEOC’s Miami District Office.   “When these employees attempted to complain to the proper corporate  managers about the ongoing unlawful behavior of their branch manager, their  complaints were ignored.  This is wrong  and illegal.”

The EEOC’s  Miami District director, Malcolm Medley, added, “The EEOC is committed to ensuring a workplace free of  harassment and discrimination.  No  employee should have to endure sexual harassment in the workplace.”

© Copyright 2013 - U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

About the Author

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

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