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Sexual harassment by Safeway customer leads to lawsuit

Being exposed to any type of harassment at work can cause high levels of stress that can even affect a person's home life. Fortunately, perpetrators of unacceptable behavior, such as sexual harassment, can be held accountable under the laws protecting workers nationwide, including in Florida. Safeway supermarket was sued by an employee who was sexually harassed by a male customer to the point she resigned to escape the man.

According to the court documents, a particular male customer of the supermarket regularly made vulgar remarks about her appearance with specific perverted comments about her breasts. She alleged the man even expressed his desire to touch her breasts. The worker contends her efforts to ignore the remarks and avoid contact with the customer were to no avail.

It is further alleged that her complaint to a supervisor brought no resolve. She asserts the supervisor said that action could only be taken if a manager personally witnesses the harassment. The harassment policy of the employer states that employees should report any harassment -- including harassment by vendors or customers -- to supervisors or managers.

The defendant is accused of creating a hostile work environment that promotes gender discrimination by not acting upon the plaintiff's complaints. Because the sexual harassment complaint was disregarded, the plaintiff was forced to resign to escape the customer's attention. This left her without a job and no income. Fortunately, employees are protected against such behavior, and the successful presentation of the lawsuit may lead to a monetary entry to cover this woman's financial and other losses.

Source: Findlaw, "Are Businesses Liable for Sexual Harassment by Customers?", Christopher Coble, Accessed on Sept. 2, 2016

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