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Employees Sexually Assaulted in the Store Freezer Receive $1.2 Million Settlement

Posted by: Gail Cecchettini Whaley, J.D. on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 12:00:00 am

Two employees at a 99 Cents Only store in Redding alleged that an assistant manager sexually assaulted them in a walk-in freezer, and the store retaliated against them after they complained. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently reached a settlement of $1.2 million in this matter.

Not only were the complainants allegedly assaulted by their supervisor, but they were also subjected to other forms of sexual harassment. After reporting the harassment, store managers allegedly retaliated against the complainants—including additional scrutiny at work and reduced hours.

The DFEH investigated and found cause to believe violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act had occurred. After mandatory mediation, 99 Cents agreed to pay the complainants and the DFEH $1,225,000 to resolve the claims.

"Employers must take seriously their duty to provide a work environment that is free from sexual harassment and sexual assault," said Kevin Kish, Director of the DFEH. "DFEH will hold to account companies that allow harassment and retaliation against employees who complain."

99 Cents is also required to hire an independent third-party monitor to track its compliance with the settlement agreement for three years. Managers will be required to undergo training, and 99 Cents will provide annual compliance reports to the DFEH for the next three years.

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