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EEOC Wins Jury Verdict of $350,000 for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Victims

Employees at Endoscopic  Microsurgery Associates Harassed or Fired for Rejecting And Complaining About Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

A federal jury has awarded $350,000 in compensatory and  punitive damages to three former employees Endoscopic Microsurgery Associates, a  Baltimore-area medical practice, who were subjected to unwanted sexual advances  by the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer, the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Linda Luz, a receptionist for Endoscopic  Microsurgery Associates, P.A. / Mark D. Noar, M.D. & Associates, was  repeatedly subjected to unwanted sexual advances and a sexually hostile work  environment by CEO Dr. Mark Noar and CFO Martin Virga.  After Luz repeatedly rejected the advances,  the medical practice began retaliating against her by issuing to her unwarranted  discipline and rescinding approved leave, which eventually culminated in her  retaliatory termination.  Study coordinator  Jacqueline Huskins similarly experienced unwanted sexual advances from Noar and  Virga, as did nurse Kimberly Hutchinson from Noar.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title  VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The  EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement  through its conciliation process.

The Baltimore jury of nine returned a unanimous verdict finding  that the claimants were entitled to compensatory damages in amounts ranging  from $4,000 to $10,000, and awarded each claimant punitive damages in the  amount of $110,000. 

“This verdict is significant because it reminds high-level officials who  function as the employer that their high level does not give them license to abuse  women – they must treat employees as professionals,” said Debra Lawrence,  regional attorney of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office.  

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney and lead counsel Maria Salacuse added,  “This case emphasizes the necessity of employers having in place meaningful and  enforceable policies guarding against such mistreatment.”

© Copyright U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 207

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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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